Euro Team Championships: Germany and Romania Score Gold
(by Steve Hopkins/Photo by ITTF)
The Liebherr 2019 ITTF-European Championships was held from September 3-8 in Nantes, France. This team event included the top 24 Men’s and Women’s teams in Europe. The top 8 finishers in the Group phase advanced to single elimination knock-out rounds.
In the Men’s event, the top four seeds all advanced as expected with Germany, Sweden, France and Austria taking their positions in the draw. Germany would face fifth seed Slovenia, who won their group easily. France faced Poland, the seventh seed who also advanced as expected. Sweden faced England who upset Belarus for a 9th seed over 6th seed upset. And Austria faced Portugal, the 10th seed who upset 8th seeded Greece.
Germany dominated their match over Slovenia winning 3-0. Ovtcharov had a tough match with Darko Jorgic, needing to win three in a row after going down 0-2 (including a 19-17 marathon in the first game). But Boll and Franziska each won their matches easily. France squeezed by Poland, with Poland’s Badowski upsetting Gauzy in the first match and Poland’s Dyjas upsetting Lebesson in the second match. But France won the final three matches – Akkuzu over Kubik 3-0, Gauzy over Dyjas 3-1, and Lebesson over Badowski 3-1. Austria won the opening game over Portugal with Robert Gardos beating Tiago Apolonia 3-0. After that, it was all Portugal with Fretas upsetting Habesohn, Monteiro upsetting Fegerl, and Apolonia sealing the win with an upset win over Habesohn 3-0. In the final Quarterfinal, Sweden took care of business in their match over England, winning 3-0 with Persson over Pitchford, Falck over Drinkhall, and Moregard over Walker.
Germany dominated the Semifinal over France. The heavily favored German team won all three matches 3-1 on their way to a 3-0 win. Portugal continued their streak with an upset win over Sweden 3-2. Sweden won the opening match with Persson taking down Marcos Freitas 3-2. Tiago Apolonia evened the score with his upset of Mattias Falck 3-2. Truls Moregard gave Sweden the lead with a 3-1 win over Joao Monteiro. Freitas then defeated Mattias Falck 3-1, and Apolonia sealed the win with a 3-2 win over Persson.
The string of upsets was exhausted for Portugal after that. They were over-matched by Germany as Ovtcharov, Boll, and Franziska each won their matches for the 3-0 win. Germany takes the Euro title, but 10th seeded Portugal’s run may be the biggest story of the tournament.
In the Women’s Team event, the only surprise in the Group Phase was that Sweden did not advance. The sixth seeded Swedish team fell victim to eleventh seeded Poland. Romania was the top seed, and like Germany in the Men’s event – Romania was dominant throughout. Romania over France 3-0, Romania over Poland 3-1, and ultimately a 3-0 win in the Final over Portugal.
Portugal mirrored the men’s success with an upset win over second seeded Germany 3-2 in the Quarterfinals. They then upset Hungary 3-1 to reach the Final. Romania was dominant in the final, but the seventh seeded Portugal team managed to finish second – including upsets of both the second and third seeds along the way.
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