#EMWTC14: Group 5 Preview
Date: 1/24/2014 3:08 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler
With 6 groups in the men’s event and 5 in the women’s we are getting towards the end of our step by step preview for the EMWTC in Basel. As the group number gets higher so the gap between the seeded team and the rest decreases and the possibilities for upsets come to the fore. We continue our countdown with a look a group 5 in the men’s and women’s where there are definite opportunities for lesser teams to make a name for themselves.

EMTC Group 5 – Opportunity for Sweden to roll back the years

We do not have to delve to deep into badminton history to find the glory days of Swedish badminton. As recently as the mid-nineties the Swedes were a dominant force in European badminton but in recent years have had to play second fiddle to the likes of Denmark, Germany, Russia, England and group 5 opponents The Netherlands.

The Dutch justifiably are group favourites but in a group containing 5 teams anything can happen. Looking at the group nonchalantly you would be forgiven for thinking the Dutch should take the spoils with ease. Eric Pang (pictured) will lead the way in singles and doubles pairs Bosch/Ridder and Arends/Mass should clean up the doubles, that is of course if politics does not get in the way and Bosch & Ridder travel to Basel.

Delve deeper and examine the merits of the other teams and all of a sudden a Sweden upset start to jump off the page. A lot will depend on Henri Hurskainen taking first singles against Eric Pang and with four, yes four players inside the top 125 in the world in men’s singles the Swedes can look to recapture the glory years without even getting to the doubles. Ulldahl, Borg and Wigardt will ably support Hurskainen if selected and add into the mix the undoubted talents of Magnus Sahlberg and Nico Ruponen and a broad strength in depth becomes apparent in team Sweden.

While a battle royal will be going on between these two favourites it is a foolish person who would discount the merits of any of the other three teams in the group with Estonia, Austria and Wales all sure to bring something to the table.

Click here for the full men's Group 5.

Verdict: Select the best team available and avoid politics and the Dutch should come out on top. Sweden will be biting at the Dutch heels for any sign of weakness but like the Dutch will need to pick the best Swedish players available to them to get the job done. Wales, Austria and Estonia to battle it out for the minor placing’s.

EWTC Group 5 – An English team of two halves

It is no secret that the European Women’s team championship has been less than a happy hunting ground for team England. You have to go back to the first ever event in 2006 to find their only ever success where they achieved silver behind The Netherlands. Subsequent disasters in Almere, Warsaw and Amsterdam have seen just scrape into the seeded teams as fifth seeds for the tournament.

On paper the English girls have top class doubles as their exposal with Gabby Adcock (pictured), Lauren Smith, Heather Olver and Kate Robertshaw set to lead the lines. It is singles where the English weakness manifests itself compared to the top nations and with arguably the best singles player in the last 12 months, Fontaine Mica Chapman, outside of the national set up, team England are set to rely on Sarah Walker, Sarah Milne and emerging youngster Riou Panuga. Kate Robertshaw may be called on to provide cover at singles given her past pedigree.

The rest of the teams in group 5 suffer from the same problem as their seeded opposition, some really good players who will win points but lacking an overall strength in depth. Wales will call on Carissa Turner, Sarah Thomas and Aimee Moran to double job at both singles and doubles while a young Finnish team will be led by Nanna Vainio and Airi Mikkela in singles and recent junior graduates Lindholm and Nyström expected to lead the lines in doubles.

With Ukraine and Estonia making up this tight group of 5 one thing we are assured of is some very long matches going down to the deciding match in each tie.

Click here to the full women's Group 5.

Verdict: England to come through but only just. Finland, Wales and Ukraine will do all they can to pile the pressure on the fifth seeds who in turn will be looking over their shoulders at Estonia with Vana and Saar out to prove a point.

The entire tournament will be covered by our dedicated YouTube channel. Eurosport 2 will show the the matches from the quarter-finals stage live.

Article by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe. Photos by BadmintonPhoto.
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