ANTALYA - The first selection at the European Championship for national teams has been concluded with eight teams for the quarter finals. The Spanish team with Dani Sánchez and Ruben Legazpi tops the ranking followed by the Greeks, with a grand Nikos Polychronopoulos, the Turkish home team with Semih Sayginer and Murat Naci Coklu, the second Belgian team, two Danish teams, France and the second Dutch team. The quarter finals are played at 17.00 Turkish time (15.00 Western Europe).
The Spaniards and Greeks achieved the maximum score on match points, averaging 1,714 and 1,690. Only the Netherlands 2 with 1,770 and Denmark 2 with 1,746 were better, but with fewer match points. The two Danish teams play against each other in the quarterfinals according to the rules.
The matches are:
Spain 1-Netherlands 2
Greece 1-France 1
Turkey 1-Belgium 2
Denmark 1-Denmark 2.
The group overview in the preliminaries:
The first Netherlands-Belgium showed an excellent Jean van Erp for orange's second team. Eddy Merkx won at the first table against Dave Christiani 30-19 in 21 innings, Jean van Erp shone in a fascinating match in nine innings to Roland Forthomme (30-21) with a run of eleven. That brought the Dutch second team the group win on average, before Belgium 1 and Turkey 2, both with the same (two) match points.
The low lands share the wins: second Belgian team beats Dutch 1 team 3-1 thanks to Peter Ceulemans, who defeats Jeffrey Jorissen, and Frédéric Mottet with a draw against Raimond Burgman. The Croatian team has no chance in both games.
Murat Naci Coklu closes with the maximum win for Turkey in the match against Carlos Crespo (Spain 2) after a final run of five in sight of the finish: 30-29. Semih Sayginer beats Antonio Montes by a big margin: 30-18 in 17. The Italians, with the historic 18-run in the equalizer from Marco Zanetti against Sayginer, were out. Never before did a player equalize with a 18.
The last Spanish appearance against France 2 shows a strong Dani Sánchez, who beats Jérôme Barbeillon 40-13 in 11 with a run of 11. Ruben Legazpi, just like Sánchez, remains unbeaten against Devogelaere. The Swiss were already out.
The second Danish team was launched by Lars Dunch, played a draw against the Czech Republic and closed with a 3-1 win over Germany. Dunch won again, now against Jäschke 30-29 in 20, Brian Knudsen beat Karaka 30-16 in 16.
The last French win, by Gwendal Maréchal, in a thriller against the young Portuguese Jose Miguel Soares (30-29) brings the group win to France 1. Jérémy Bury is the better of Rui Costa 30-21 in 18. The second Greek team was out of chance for the qualification.
The match between Denmark 1 and Sweden yielded a draw twice. Torbjörn Blomdahl was twice winner against Dion Nelin, Jacob Sörensen twice against Michael Nilsson. The Danes scored five points more and move up to the quarterfinals.
The last demonstration of high class in the preliminaries came from Nikos Polychronopoulos, who ran out to 17-0 against Kahofer and finally won 30-15 in 15 innings. The Greek played his two matches in the preliminaries in 13 and 14 innings. The Greek team finished as the winner ahead of Sweden 2 and Austria.
The top eight after the preliminaries:
1 Spain 1 4-8-1,714-11
2 Greece 1 4-8-1.690-11
3 Turkey 1 4-7-1.578-8
4 Belgium 2 4-7-1,500-8
5 Denmark 2 3-6-1,746-12
6 France 1 4-5-1.304-6
7 Netherlands 2 2-4-1,770-13
8 Denmark 1 2-4-1.317-14.
Frédéric Mottet, with the Belgians in the quarters against Turkey
Jean van Erp, best of all with a 30 in 9