Standing European Championships B After Two Days
With two days and games per squad past in Wrocław, Poland at the European Championships 2021, we look at the current situation and results so far.
In group A with Ireland, Poland, Scotland and Switzerland, it's the Scots that have secured first place. after victories against Poland and Switzerland. Even if they lose today from still pointless Ireland, the mutual result against the Poles and Swiss puts them in first place. Poland in their second game recovers from the loss against Scotland and beats Ireland clearly 14-7, keeping the options open for the cross finals. Today's game Poland - Switzerland will decide who gets second place in the group and a shot at the final. This will be tough for host Poland, despite the help of the fans that come to support their country every day. Newcomer Switzerland proves to be a tough opponent, having players with Dutch experience in their squad. Just in the game against the Scots, poor refereeing in the third quarter of the game may have been the setback that caused the loss. So the result of Poland - Switzerland is unpredictable, meaning we have to wait until the end of day 3 to know the second cross-finalist in group A.
In group B with Greece, Slovakia, Turkey and Wales, other newcomer Turkey is dominating sovereign. For insiders this was to be expected, whereas people more superficially following international korfball may be surprised. They win both their first games clearly. Slovakia recovers well in the game against Wales after a hard loss against Turkey and has secured second place in this group. Having won from competitor Wales, the mutual result is in their favour and Turkey will surely beat Wales also today., as well as Slovakia will beat Greece. Third newcomer Greece is the only country clearly weaker than the others. Seemingly having made no progress since 2019, having three players competing in Netherlands is too little to make a good impression here in Poland. This makes that group B is already decided and we will see Turkey and Slovakia in the cross finals.
With Scotland - Slovakia as first cross final, Turkey as group winner also secured and Switzerland also still having a shot at the cross finals, the question arises if it is time to give more upcoming countries an opportunity to qualify for this B championship. Although Greece is clearly weaker than the other squads here, for other upcoming countries it may be a motivation to invest even more in organisational structure and national squad programmes in order to qualify for an end round of the European Championships.
A worrying point yesterday in my opinion is the refereeing. Like in 2019, the 'travelling' virus seems to spread among the referees, making for uncomprehensible decisions by the referees. Let's hope this virus goes away fast.
Otherwise we can speak of a fine event so far. The Polish organisation has done well in multiple fields. There is good merchandise, also targeting the school children that have been arranged to come see the games of Poland. Let's see what the rest of the event will be like.