by Simon Daish
With four group winners already through to the last eight of the Women’s Team event the attention turns to the race for second position in each group.
The closest battle for a runner up spot could come courtesy of Group A as the United States of America and Egypt meet in a play-off for the quarter-finals. Both sides suffered 3-0 defeats at the hands of Japan on day one, but which team will join the top seeds in reaching the second stage of the event?
Team England faces a difficult task ahead with the hosts requiring an almighty result to keep their campaign alive. Opponents Singapore surely enter the remaining Group C encounter as the big favourites to progress, but England won’t go down without a fight and will attempt to make the most of of the home crowd advantage.
Two further ties will also be contested: Bernadette Szocs and her Romanian teammates will fancy their chances of qualifying from Group D but first they must see off Australia while the runner up of the 2015 ITTF-Team World Cup DPR Korea takes on Brazil for second position in Group B.
Either one of Sweden or France will miss out on the last eight of the Men’s Team category as the seventh and ninth seeds go head-to-head in a thrilling Group A finale.
China eased to top spot in the group with powerful displays against both the Swedish and French outfits, leaving both sides in a nervous position heading into day two. Only one team can qualify; will it be Kristian Karlsson and Team Sweden or Emmanuel Lebesson’s France?
Liam Pitchford and his fellow England compatriots performed exceptionally well at the closing stages of day one in London, but the hosts ultimately lost out to Japan and now face a tough challenge in the race for the quarter-finals.
Bronze medallists at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships, England will move through to round two with a win in the final Group B match, however, the home side will have to be at its best with the ever-handy Omar Assar leading the way for Egypt.
Claiming a dramatic victory over Hong Kong on the evening of the opening day, Brazil finishes its Group D journey opposing Pan-American rivals USA and over in Group C Korea Republic faces Australia.
Following the conclusion of the final group stage fixtures the remaining eight sides in the Men’s Team and Women’s Team draws will fight it out for places in the penultimate round.