by Simon Daish
Romania required a comfortable win in its final group stage fixture against Spain and a second slip up from rivals Germany – much to the local supporters’ delight both scenarios unfolded.
Impressive on the opening day’s action but Ana Garcia was the first Spanish player to experience defeat, losing out to Tania Plaian in straight games (12-10, 11-7, 11-5) as Romania established an early lead. Further victories from Andreea Dragoman and Andreea Hudusan, achieved against Alba Fernandez (3-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6) and Andrea Perez (6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8) respectively, proved enough to see the hosts into the next round.
Leili Mostafavi’s brace over Franziska Schreiner (11-9, 11-2, 9-11, 12-10) and Wenna Tu (11-6, 11-3, 7-11, 11-6) proved vital as France condemned Germany to a 3-2 defeat and a third position finish in Group D. The final group standings mean that a play-off encounter with the Czech Republic now awaits the German team.
Despite picking up two victories on the opening day of play Turkey has missed out on securing a top two spot in Group B: suffering a 3-0 defeat to group winners Serbia on day two and with the Slovak Republic beating Croatia by a 3-1 score-line, Turkey was forced to settle for third position in Group B and will face Belarus in a play-off tie later in the day.
Azerbaijan concluded its Group A campaign with a perfect display against the Czech Republic to top the group with maximum points while Russia’s 3-0 victory over Norway resulted in a second position finish. Top spot in Group C has been awarded to Poland, who accounted for group runners up Slovenia 3-1.