Credit: Alan Spink
Historic wins and upsets to close the qualification stage
Date: 12/18/2022 10:30 PM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
England, Ukraine, Scotland, and Bulgaria will all be joining France, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands for the final stage of the 2023 European Mixed Team Championships.

With four teams already qualified for the final stage of the 2023 European Mixed Team Championships, the last spots of the remaining four groups still needed to be filled. Everyone wants to be in Aire-sur-la-Lys next year and it showed in the performances of the last matches. Three out of the four teams qualifying today were playing on home soil.

Group 1. Winner: England
Opening the last day in Milton Keynes, Slovakia and Norway played against each other, being the only two teams of the group which still hadn’t got to take a team win so far. It was a close encounter, but we did not need to wait for the fifth match to learn that Slovakia would be getting the third spot of the group, with Martina Repiska/ Katarina Vargova winning the third point for their team.

The host and top-seeded team, England, were to face the other strong opponent in Group 1, Poland. The Polish side lost 0-5 but not without a fight; the men’s doubles and mixed doubles matches went to three games. Chloe Birch/ Lauren Smith closed their match in straight games. “We knew coming into our match that it was going to be tough today. We’ve gone out there knowing that they were going to fight, and we’ve done the same”, said Birch who also played the women’s singles match.

Group 3. Winner: Ukraine
The big upset of this qualification stage happened today in Sursee, Switzerland. Spain and Ukraine met for the final of the group and it started with a win from Carolina Marín in straight games. Following the European Champion’s win, Ukraine took the lead 2-1 after winning the next two three-game matches. 

Joan Monroy/ Carlos Piris managed to win their match to stop their opponents getting away with the win already but in the deciding match, Danylo Bosniuk and Mariia Stoliarenko got Ukraine through to the final stage with a win in straight games.

“It’s a big victory for us. The team is really happy with this result. We were expecting a big fight. The players are living in different countries because of the war and I’m in Ukraine but they will be ready for the final”, explained Vladislav Druzchenko, coach for Ukraine.

Group 4. Winner: Scotland
Just like fellow Brits England, Scotland also got to qualify on home soil. It wasn’t so easy as the first match, a mixed doubles battle between Adam Hall/ Julie Macpherson and Johan Azelius/ Clara Nistad, was quite close but resulted in a win for the Scots, and Felix Burestedt beat Callum Smith to make it 1-1. However, the clash didn’t need to go to five matches with Scotland winning 3-1.

“I have enjoyed playing at home so much. I think that I hadn’t played a team event at home before so that’s been very special for me. It’s so nice for friends and family to see it not on a screen, but to actually sit and see it court-side”, said Kirsty Gilmour.

Group 5. Winner: Bulgaria
“A historical win”, these are the first words that the president of the Bulgarian Badminton Federation Volodya Zlayev said right after his country’s victory that will take them to compete in the final stage of the big event. Finland, who had won 4-1 in both of their previous clashes in the group stage, played the group final against Bulgaria, who yesterday had a close result against Belgium, winning 3-2.

However, Bulgaria stepped on court to concede no losses at all. Finland took the first match, a mixed doubles clash between Iliyan Stoynov/ Gabriela Stoeva and Anton Kaisti/ Iina Suutarinen, to three games but Bulgaria got to seal the win in three matches.

“We weren’t sure about today’s matches. We were really happy about Daniel Nikolov’s win because we knew it would be a tough match against Kalle Koljonen. We will do our best in the final stage”, said the reigning European Junior Champion Kaloyana Nalbantova.

The next stop for the qualified teams — England, Netherlands, Ukraine, Scotland, and Bulgaria — is Aire-sur-la-Lys, where the final stage of the 2023 European Mixed Team Championships will be played from 14 to 18 February. 

The previously mentioned teams will join France, Denmark, and Germany — who were already qualified due to being the host country, the reigning champion, and the highest ranked respectively — to crown the best mixed team in Europe. There is no long to go, so stay tuned through our platforms for more exclusive news about the upcoming event!
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