Junior team competitions sometimes are won and lost by the very narrowest of margins. As the group stages of the 2016 European U17 team event concluded today group 5 ended up a three-way tie at the top in terms of ties won with Estonia squeezing through to the last eight by virtue of one single match over Belarus.
Estonia came into the last round of matches after easily beating Israel and Romania and looked odds on favourites to make the quarter finals without too much trouble. The seeded Estonians did not expect the fight they got against Belarus who knew the quarter final spot was up for grabs after Israel beat Romania.
The maths were simple for Belarus, beat Estonia 5-0 and they would take their place in the last eight. While the numbers were straight forward nobody gave the Belarussians a chance of pulling off the impossible, that was of course until they won the first four matches and within a match of putting the seeds Estonia out.
Estonia did just manage to hang on what was a frustrating day for them (main picture) and crawled over the finish line taking the last men’s doubles but suffered a real fright against Belarus who must be kicking themselves after a poor performance against Israel on Thursday.
Estonia will now meet France in the quarter final after the French completely dominated group 4 loosing just a solitary match from the 15 ties played.
“The team is very strong here this week and very united” said top French singles player Arnaud Merkle “We came here to win a medal and to also prepare everyone for the individual coming up which we did as each member of our team played in the group stage of this team competition”
Scotland slip up to gift Turkey a quarter final spot
24 hours ago Scotland looked like all they had to do was turn up against Finland this morning to make the quarter final. But the Finns were in no mood for charity as team Scotland contrived to lose the match 3-2 against the Finns which sent the Turks through on matches won difference.
The wheels came off the Scottish wagon in the singles as mister reliable Matthew Grimley slipped up against Justus Kilpi and it went swiftly downhill from there for the Scots. In the final women’s doubles Ciara Torrance and Lily Farnood squandered match and quarter final point and the disbelief was palpable in the hall as the Turks cheered from the stands behind.
Turkey will now play Sweden (pictured above) for a medal after the Swedes destroyed The Netherlands 4-1 and will go into the match against Turkey as favourites.
As expected the Danes were untroubled throughout the group even after losing the very first match of the very first tie of the competition against Italy. The top seeds made no mistake against Belgium in their final group match and will now play Czech Republic in the quarter final.
The Czechs (pictured above after their win over Russia) have looked outstanding this week in what was the group of death with Russia and Ukraine and will be a real handful for the defending champions in tomorrow’s quarter final.
England who had a day off today will play Germany after a nail biting group decider with Poland that went right down to the wire. The Germans eventually coming through in the final match thanks to Graalmann and Schreiber (pictured below) taking the mixed doubles in the final set to win 3-2 and advance to the quarter final.
For all results from the conclusion of the group stages of the team event in Lubin click HERE
To revisit all the action on demand on YouTube from court 2 click HERE
For a full Facebook photo gallery from today’s play click HERE
Article and images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe