Day three in Kazan saw the conclusion of the group stages of both the men’s and women’s competition and as Germany topped group 3 in the women’s event both England and France manage to conspire to knock each other out.
Germany had sealed the group beating both France and England in the first two days of play which left the English and French women battling it out for one of the three coveted best runner up spots in the groups to complete the quarter final line up with each of the five group winners.
France and England played each other today for that right and a convincing win by either team would have secured one of those quarter final spots.
Both teams took to the court with only a win on their minds and in a weird twist of fate managed to conspire to knock each other out in what was a fiercely contested and close battle.
Delphine Lansac got the French off to the best start beating Fontaine Chapman 23-21 23-21 before Heather Olver and Lauren Smith (main picture) beat Lefel and Batomene in one of the best matches of the day to level up at 1-1.
Team England followed up with a win in the second women’s singles and women’s doubles to win the tie but still needed the final match to guarantee their passage to the quarter final. Youngster Miu Lin Ngan certainly had the opportunity to get England over the line but a second game comeback from Yaelle Hoyaux from 20-18 down saw the French girl win the match in two and stop England from advancing to the quarter final.
The tight nature of the game served to put Finland through as the third best qualifier along with Turkey and Spain as both France and England left with nothing.
European Women’s team championship quarter final line up
Denmark V Finland
Spain V Ukraine
Turkey V Bulgaria
Germany V Russia
Ukraine & Sweden join seeds in men’s quarters
Sweden would have felt hard done by not winning group 4 outright but gained some consolation claiming one of the two runners up quarter finals spots alongside Ukraine.
As expected Denmark cruised home in group 1 without dropping a single match a record that they had to fight to keep in today’s final match against Finland. After easing into a 3-0 lead Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (pictured) was forced to call on all his experience to get past newly crowned Finnish national champion Kalle Koljonen in a tight three setter.
The Finn had match point at 22-21 but failed to get the match over the line as the steely nerve of the 30-year-old Dane took him through and maintained team Denmark’s impressive record.
Denmark will now play Russia after the home nations won a group shootout with Ukraine while Poland justified their sixth seeding to set up a quarter final with England.
European Men’s team championship quarter final line up
Denmark V Russia
Poland V England
France V Ukraine
Germany V Sweden
For all results from today’s play in Kazan click HERE
For a full Facebook photo gallery from day 3 of #EMWTC16 click HERE
To watch all the matches on demand from court 1 on Badminton Europe’s YouTube channel click HERE
Article and images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe