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(Photo: Badminton Europe)
Denmark lifts the EMTC21 trophy!
Date: 2/20/2021 5:17 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
A great finals day at the 2021 European Mixed Team Championships took place in Vantaa, Finland, today. A new look Danish team was crowned the kings and queens of Europe. 

In a unique final, we had reigning champions and 17-time EMTC champions Denmark, up against France, who before this week had never won a medal at this event. 

Both teams went the distance yesterday in the semifinals, going down to the last game of the last match. Entering the final, both teams bore the battle-scars from a tough week but knew that just one more great performance would get them the gold. 

Viktor Axelsen, world number two and winner of both Thailand Opens stepped up first for Denmark. Opposite him was Christo Popov, fresh from winning the European Junior gold on Finnish soil late last year. 

Despite some nice exchanges, Viktor Axelsen was in control of the match. Popov managed a run of points in the second game to draw level, but Axelsen said he had more ammunition. 

-I think that I had a few extra gears and I stepped up a little bit. Christo made some easy mistakes, and then I was in the lead, so you relax a little bit more, Axelsen explained. 

Axelsen won the match 21-16, 21-12, but Christo Popov embraced the opportunity to learn from the very best and noted something about Axelsen’s game. 

-Most players are afraid of his attack, which is normal. But I think he has a very good lift and in defence, he is very solid. You cannot smash from the back-court and win the point, Popov said informatively. 

Blichfeldt doubles up
In an attempt to make it a double singles category win for Denmark, Mia Blichfeldt took on Qi Xuefei. Despite Blichfedlt having a clean record against her, she admits that she was a little nervous coming into the match.

-There have been many things in the last 12 hours, that have been very tough. So, it is very nice to stand here having won a match when you have not fully prepared. 

Blichfeldt alludes to the late finish yesterday and the testing requirements this morning. There was a shaky moment when Qi made a comeback in the second game, taking the lead at 19-18, but Blichfeldt stayed composed and won the match 21-18, 21-19. 

Danish déjà vu
Kim Astrup/ Anders Rasmussen had an opportunity to repeat history from five years, when the only time they had played Julien Maio/ Ronan Labar, they delivered the winning point for Denmark in the 2016 European Men’s Team Championships. 

-I remember that match pretty well actually. That winning feeling we had five years ago was still in my memory today, and we wanted to recreate that today, Astrup said.

In a performance that we became accustomed to in the past, the reigning European Champions efficiently dispatched their opponents 21-12, 21-14 and made sure Denmark is lifting the trophy once more. 

Denmark has now won their fourth title in a row and their 18th overall. France has won its first-ever medal, and it’s silver! Bronze medals went to Russia and Germany. 

Watch the EMTC21 finals day action on badmintoneurope.tv

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