Denmark captured their 18th crown at the European Mixed Team Championships with a 3-0 whitewash over France at Vantaa (Finland) yesterday. The talking point of the tournament however was the two semifinals, which saw France make their first-ever final, and Denmark nearly crash out to Germany.
Once Denmark came through their torrid semifinal, they captured their fourth successive title – their 13th in the last 14 editions.
While France could not put up much of a fight in the final, their entry into the title round itself was historic as they never even made the semifinals in 25 previous editions of the tournament.
Viktor Axelsen gave the Danes the lead beating Christo Popov 21-16 21-12, and Mia Blichfeldt consolidated by overcoming Qi Xuefei 21-18 21-19. Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen ensured victory beating Ronan Labar/Julien Maio 21-12 21-14.
Germany very nearly got the better of Denmark in their semifinals. Not since 1982 have Denmark failed to make the final, and it nearly came to pass.
Mark Lamsfuss was the hero for Germany as he and Isabel Herttrich beat Mathias Christiansen/Alexandra Boje. Denmark won their two singles through Axelsen and Blichfeldt, but Lamsfuss returned with Marvin Seidel and stormed past Astrup/Rasmussen in 34 minutes, 21-19 21-5, to made it 2-2 for Germany.
The final match was between Maiken Fruergaard/Amalie Magelund and Germany’s Herttrich/Kilasu Ostermeyer. The Danes had five match points but the Germans knocked off four of those, before Fruergaard and Magelund clinched it at the end, 21-11 18-21 21-19.
“It was a great match to play, and a tough one,” said Magelund to Badminton Europe. “I am just so happy, and I really think that we worked hard for it today. We kept on going. I am so happy that we secured the spot in the final.”
The other semifinal was also exciting, with the tie taken to the fifth match. Rodion Alimov/Alina Davletova raised visions of a Russian victory by taking the first game over Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue, but the French duo struck back and clinched the match 18-21 21-15 21-9.
“It means a lot to us. We are very proud of the team. There is a very good spirit and they are our friends, so it is crazy to win with this team,” said Gicquel.
Earlier, in the quarterfinals, France beat England 4-1, Russia beat Netherlands 4-1, Denmark overcame Scotland 3-2, and Germany blanked Finland 5-0.