The draw for the 2016 European men’s and women’s team championships took place today in Badminton Europe’s head office in Copenhagen and while most of the powerhouse nations will be content with their draws both the men and women from France will have to come through tough group assignments to make the knockout stages.
While the French are seeded in the men’s competition the women’s event was always going to throw up a tough draw for France after being nudged out of a seeded spot by hosts Russia.
Men's group of death likely to go down to the wire
In the men’s group stages France have been draw against Scotland and Sweden in group 4, both of whom will have desires on an upset and topping the group. Rounding off the group is Slovakia who will serve to make up the numbers as the big three fight for top spot.
EMTC2016 GROUP 4: FRANCE, SCOTLAND, SWEDEN & SLOVAKIA
Denmark will be content in group 1 as top seeds but with Finland, the bronze medallists from Basel in 2014, Turkey and Croatia, the tournament favourites will need to be sharp from the outset to control the group.
EMTC2016 GROUP 1: DENMARK,TURKEY, FINLAND & CROATIA
The English men could hot have picked a better passage to the knockout stages if they made the draw themselves. Estonia, Bulgaria and Hungary will battle it out for second in group 2 in an effort to gain one of the two best second place spots.
EMTC2016 GROUP 2: ENGLAND, BULGARIA, HUNGARY & ESTONIA
Germany will also feel content in group 4 with only Ireland there to extract the odd point from the Germans. Ireland & Czech Republic will battle it out for second in the group in a repeat of the match up from Basel two years ago. Lithuania will most likely make up the numbers.
EMTC2016 GROUP 3: GERMANY, IRELAND, CZECH REPUBLIC & LITHUANIA
The hosts Russia lead group 5 and with home advantage teams from Slovenia, Austria & Ukraine will most likely fight it out for the second place. Austria might just be favourites to take that second spot but it will be close and every point and set will count.
EMTC2016 GROUP 5: RUSSIA, AUSTRIA, SLOVENIA & UKRAINE
Poland head up the only 5 team group and should just about have enough strength in depth to see off a young team from Spain & Belgium with Italy and Norway bringing up the rear purely due to a lack of depth in their squads.
EMTC2016 GROUP 6: POLAND, ITALY, SPAIN, NORWAY & BELGIUM
Germany will need to be on their toes as French & English lurk.
Like the men’s event team France will have an uphill group battle in group 3. 2012 Champions Germany lead the way but Germany may struggle down the bottom end in singles which represents an opportunity for France & England. Wales will also fancy their chances in claiming a point here and there in a group that games won or lost might figure in the final table.
EWTC2016 GROUP 3: GERMANY, FRANCE, ENGLAND & WALES.
In group 1 top seeds Denmark should be in a position to rest all their heavy hitters and still ease through the group. Finland will exploit and complacency from the Danes while Belarus & Lithuania should be battling to avoid the group wooden spoon.
EWTC2016 GROUP 1: DENMARK, FINLAND, LITHUANIA & BELARUS
Group 2 is a bit of an enigma. Spain are top seeds as a result of the points haul from Marin and Corrales but once again if Bulgaria can put politics aside they are a team that can push even the mighty Danes. Only time will tell as to whom represents both Spain and Bulgaria but if both go with a focus to perform then both can do damage all the way to the medals. Estonia and Belgium will look to feed off any weakness.
EWTC2016 GROUP 2: SPAIN, BULGARIA, ESTONIA & BELGIUM
Turkey are the seeded team in group 4 and will have one of the shortest trips to Kazan in Russia. Ukraine have a good array of skillful players with enough depth to trouble Turkey if Yigit, Bayrak & co are failing to perform. The Czech Republic will keep both honest while Italy will struggle due to a lack of real depth.
EWTC2016 GROUP 4: TURKEY, UKRAINE, CZECH REPUBLIC & ITALY
Russia on home soil are clear favourites to sweep group 5. The carrot for the Irish team will to be a clinical as possible against Slovakia & Hungary while getting whatever they can from the Russia match to try an claim one of the best second place spots.
EWTC2016 GROUP 5: RUSSIA, IRELAND, SLOVAKIA & HUNGARY
While the groups themselves look to have clear favourites as a whole the big question is to whom the best second place spots go to in each quarter final. The women’s event offers three runners up spots from the 5 groups which will be a huge motivation for all the unseeded teams.
The men’s event is slightly more difficult given there are 6 groups with only two spots available for the best second place teams.
To view all the groups for the 2016 European Men’s & Women’s team championships click HERE
All the action takes place in Kazan, Russia from the 16th to the 21st February 2016 in the arena that hosted the 2014 European Championships.