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Draw threw up mouthwatering group ties

© Badminton Europe+

After the November exhilaration of the qualification phase for the 2015 European Mixed Team Championships, the draw for the final phase, which will be played in Leuven, Belgium in early February 2015 between Europe's top 12 teams, threw up some mouth-watering group ties that will have the seeded teams on edge from the outset.

The draw took place today at Badminton Europe's headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark threw up some interesting battles with all four groups destined to serve up some upsets in the newly formatted competition.

Denmark as top seeds head up group 1 and we can expect team Denmark to arrive in Belgium with a steely determination as they bid to regain the last outstanding team title that was ripped from their grasp by Germany over the past few years.

With this new format it means that only the best teams in Europe are present which is sure to play on the minds of the Danish team managers. Will they use their by now tried and tested formula of saving their 'big guns' for the knockout stages only time will tell but with The Netherlands and Poland in their group this could be a high risk strategy for Europe's powerhouse of badminton.

Group 2 is probably the most interesting group with England as the seeded team with near neighbours Ireland and hosts Belgium assigned the task of dethroning the English and in reality all three teams will feel this is the best draw possible given the overall strength of the competition. Belgium will have their home support willing them onto victory and in truth have enough fire power to troubles the English singles and team Ireland will be thinking along the exact same lines.

The English however will rely not only in their strength but their strength in depth in the doubles events and let us not forget when Rajiv Ouseph pulls on an English shirt, as we saw in Basle at the beginning of the year, he lifts his game to a new level.

Reigning champions Germany head up group 3 with Scotland and Spain chasing them down. Germany won the 2013 edition in Russia in what was a masterclass in mixed team badminton. But Germany two years later are a heavily diluted team after the retirement of Juliane Schenk.

Spain will rely on world champion Carolina Marin and multiple BEC circuit winner Beatriz Corrales but the real threat to the Germans will probably come from the Scots who will feel they can match the Germans in all areas except probably the men's singles. All things considered this will be the biggest test Germany ever had in a group that has the potential to go right down to the wire.

The final group is headed up by Russia and once again with such an elite gathering of nations assembled there is no easy match for the Russians with Sweden and France there to keep them honest. Sweden will count themselves lucky to be in Leuven after dodging death in the qualification tournament but France look like a team that seems to be assembling a potent mix of youth and experience and with top performers in each of the five disciplines would sit comfortably in a quarter final.

With two teams to advance to the quarter finals from each group of three there will be high precedence set on winning the opening match. There will be no room for complacency from any team and in most cases the groups will go down to the final match with a real prospect for some upsets in three of the four groups.

The tournament itself takes place between 11th and 15th February with the group stages played out on the opening two days with quarter finals, semifinals and finals then played on consecutive days.

2015 European Mixed Team Championships

  • Group 1: Denmark, The Netherlands, Poland
  • Group 2: England, Ireland, Belgium
  • Group 3: Germany, Scotland and Spain
  • Group 4: Russia, Sweden, France

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via Badminton Europe

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