17 Jul 2018

Day three of the Stag 2018 European Youth Championships in Cluj-Napoca was very much centred around the fight for the quarter-finals as teams from across all four events looked to secure their places beyond the Round of 16 on Tuesday 17th July.

by Simon Daish

Russia remains in the hunt to defend its Junior Girls’ Team trophy following a positive display in the last 16. Represented by Anastasia Kolish, Mariia Tailakova and Kristina Kazantseva, 2017 gold medallists Russia come out of its encounter against Turkey with a 3-0 victory and will do battle with Poland for a spot in the penultimate round.

Located in the same half of the draw as Russia is the host nation Romania, a team which could prove difficult to stop especially with the backing of the home crowd. In the afternoon session of play the line-up of Andreea Dragoman, Tania Plaian and Andreea Hudusan saw off the Czech Republic with the trio dropping just three games between them.

Next up for the hosts is a difficult challenge against Serbia, who reserved its place in the last eight with a 3-0 victory over Italy. The two other quarter-finals fixtures will see France take on the Slovak Republic while Germany will try its luck against the impressive squad from Azerbaijan.

Speaking of Azerbaijan the country also experienced plenty of joy over in the Junior Boys’ Team event: Yu Khinhang, Wang Chenxi and Yang Xinyu all picked up wins to their names as the side from “Level Two” stunned Poland 3-2.

However, the draw is about to get slightly more difficult for Azerbaijan with France providing the opposition in the last eight. 3-0 victors in each of the team’s group stage fixtures France added yet another convincing win to its list on day three in Cluj-Napoca as the trio of Irvin Bertrand, Bastien Rembert and Lilian Bardet kept the Czech Republic’s best efforts at bay.

Greece has extended its run in the hunt for the title after beating Sweden in a full distance thriller and will now have the pleasure of facing defending Champions Germany. The four countries to advance from the top half of the draw are Romania, Belgium, Italy and Russia.

Named as one of the top seeded sides in the Cadet Boys’ Team competition but the Czech Republic’s quest for silverware was halted at the Round of 16 stage. Despite Simon Belik providing the Czech team with a strong start, Germany’s Mike Hollo registered a brace and formed a winning partnership with Hannes Hoermann to dash the Czech Republic’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals. The other top seeded nations France, Belgium and Croatia all progressed.

In the Cadet Girls’ Team category there were no real dramas for the top seeded teams of Russia, Romania, Lithuania and France with all four countries claiming 3-0 victories. However, Poland’s terrific run continued with the “Level Two” outfit securing a tremendous win over Group A runners up Hungary.

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2018 STAG European Youth Championships Anastasia Kolish Yu Khinhang Mike Hollo

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