Tomorrow the party begins. Photo: Mark Phelan
Confidence is high as teams arrive in Kazan
Date: 2/12/2018 10:05 AM
Published by : David Grice

Can anyone stop the Danish?

24 hours before any tournament is nerve-wracking. But when it’s a team tournament, the pressure and environment completely changes. Whether it is for the better or not, it will be determined over the next six days.

The 2018 European Men’s & Women’s Team Championships take place in Kazan on Tuesday, and a winning start will be in the minds of every team of every player competing.

53 teams, from 31 countries will be heading to the Gymnastics Centre in the Tatarstan capital looking for some team silverware.

It would be foolish to not label Denmark as the favourites to retain both of their men’s and women’s titles. With their team consisting of Olympic medallists, world champions and world top 10 players, which other countries can trump their already impressive CV? The men’s team start their campaign against an Israel side where only one of their players are ranked in the top 100.

As for the women, they will be doing battle against Sweden, who are led by top 60 mixed doubles player Amanda Hogstrom.

See also: Danish team: Gold or disappointment

The hunters

Germany’s main aim will be to better both of their bronze medals they secured back in 2016. The men’s are expected a 5-0 start in their opening contest with rank-outsiders Iceland. On the women’s side, they are expected to match the men against Lithuania.

Another country looking for two podiums are England. Looking for their fourth straight podium finish, the men’s team begin their account against Hungary. As for the women, they will be focusing on their first podium since 2006.

What about the host?

After their heroics two years ago, former men’s finalists France will be hoping for a strong start against Ukraine in their group. As for the women’s silver medallists, Bulgaria have a tough start against a French side looking to spoil the party and claim the group for their own.

Any successful tournament needs the hosts to do well. Russia look to win all of their group games and make an impact in the knockout stages. The men will have to first get past Bulgaria, Spain and Belgium. Whereas the women’s team are assigned to oust Turkey, Estonia and Latvia.

See also: Russia aim to match 2014 final

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