At four locations across Europe, the last competitive action of 2020 was played. The stakes were high as the winner of the group advances to the EMTC finals and join hosts Finland and reigning champions Denmark from 16 to 20 February 2021. Here is how it all went down.
England was made to work hard for their wins but eventually came out the other side with three victories. They were pushed all the way on the final day against Sweden, needing to rely on the strength of their doubles for a 3-2 win, and qualified from the group.
Estonia delivered a standout performance, securing second place with a win over Hungary and their big opening day 3-2 surprise win over Sweden.
Standings (points): England (3), Estonia (2), Sweden (1), Hungary (0)
Russia laid down a marker for the rest of Europe with their dominant display. They came away from Belgium without losing a single match, and only dropping three games in the process. This was certainly a big statement before Finland.
Belgium performed well on home soil and secured second place. In the closest tie of the group, Belgium was able to battle their way to a 3-2 win over Switzerland. With another 3-2 win over a young Polish team, they record a respectable finish.
Standings (points): Russia (3), Belgium (2), Switzerland (1), Poland (0)
The Netherlands, who presented a blend of youth and experience, was able to score three wins. On the final day, there was a brief scare after the injury retirement to Ties Van der Lecq against the Czech Republic, but they were able to get the 3-2 victory, and advancement to the finals.
Second place was closely contested, but it was Austria who was able to grab it with two 3-2 wins over the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Standings (points): Netherlands (3), Austria (2), Czech Republic (1), Slovakia (0)
In the only five-team group, the fight for qualification went down to the final match on the final day between Spain and Scotland. Coming into the match, both teams had three wins, but Spain had a slightly better record with only dropping one match to Scotland’s two.
Despite this, with the absence of Marin, Scotland felt they had the edge. However, after an unfortunate ankle sprain to Scotland’s star and leader, Kirsty Gilmour, she was forced to retire from the women’s singles. Spain had a match point in the deciding game of the women’s doubles which would have taken them to the finals, but Scotland pulled through and delivered an emotional victory and booked their spot in the finals.
Standings (points): Scotland (4), Spain (3), Ukraine (2), Portugal (1), Latvia (0)
Four out of the six qualification groups were played this week due to Groups 4 and 5 not being able to be held. Subsequently, Germany and France progress to the 2021 European Mixed Team Championships alongside Denmark, Finland, England, Netherlands, Scotland and Russia. This was decided by Badminton Europe today and announced to the teams in the two groups.