by Simon Daish
Two rounds of group stage fixtures will take place in the Men’s Championship Division on day two at the Halmstad Arena with the morning action commencing from 10.00am and the evening session taking place at 19.00pm.
Following a strong start to the Men’s Championship Division, the host nation continues its quest for qualification from Group A with two difficult encounters on day two.
Victorious over Romania by a 3-0 score-line in the opening group match but the real test for Sweden is just around the corner; beginning the day in opposition to Hong Kong, the hosts will then meet top seeds Germany in the evening session of play. Surely the underdogs in both ties, but Sweden does have the benefit of home advantage.
Two big challenges for Sweden and it is a similar scenario for Team England in Group C, who face sixth seeds Chinese Taipei before a showdown with Japan in a repeat of the semi-final from the 2016 edition of the World Team Championships – Japan prevailed on that occasion but can England reverse the outcome on the second day of play in Halmstad?
Following a perfect display from the trio of Fan Zhendong, Ma Long and Wang Chuqin against Russia, defending champions China will look for further success in its two upcoming Group B fixtures against the Czech Republic and Brazil while France’s encounter with Austria in Group D is anticipated to be a classic.
The Women’s Championship Division will host just the one round of group stage encounters with play getting underway in Groups A and B at 13.00pm with Groups C and D featuring at 16.oopm.
Experiencing great disappointment on day one of the group proceedings with back-to-back defeats, India heads into the third round of group stage fixtures with plenty of ground to make up. Earlier in the month Team India defied the odds to beat Singapore to Women’s Team gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games – can they pull off another surprise against the 2010 World champions to boost their qualification hopes?
If there’s one group you want to keep your eye on in particular it may be Group C: Chinese Taipei will attempt to bounce back from its narrow defeat suffered at the hands of DPR Korea but will have to negotiate a tough fixture with the Netherlands to do so while reigning European champion Romania battles it out with Poland.
Elsewhere, Doo Hoi Kem and her fellow Hong Kong representatives will have to fight hard to achieve a third consecutive win in Group D with Petrissa Solja’s Germany next up on the fixture list for the fourth seeds. Over in Group B, title contenders Japan resumes its campaign against Hungary.