by Simon Daish
Anastasios Riniotis handed Greece the early advantage in the town of Berburg with a narrow five games victory over Gilles Michely (11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3), but Luxembourg responded straight away with Luka Mladenovic beating Panagiotis Gionis (11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-4) to level the scores.
European Youth Champion for two years running, Ioannis Sgouropoulos needed four games to see off Fabio Santomauro (11-2, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7) before Panagiotis Gionis condemned Gilles Michely to his second defeat of the match (11-5, 11-6, 11-3), closing out a 3-1 away victory for Greece.
Surprise semi-finalists at the 2017 European Team Championships, Slovenia have ensured their place in the Men’s Championship Division once again after earning its third win in the qualification process for next year’s event. Darko Jorgic and Deni Kozul prevailed in their respective encounters against Belgium’s Robin Devos (11-6, 11-8, 11-5) and Florent Lambiet (9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-7) with Bojan Tokic sealing a 3-1 win for the visitors, holding his nerve to see off Robin Devos (11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5).
Hungary proved no match for opponents Portugal with the team of João Geraldo, Marcos Freitas and Tiago Apolonia storming to a 3-0 away victory in Miskolc while Sweden prevailed against Scandinavian rivals Denmark by the same score-line. Losing out on home soil earlier in the year but Croatia emerged as clear winners in Turkey and Belarus sealed its spot in the top division with a 3-1 home win against Ukraine.
Lithuania recorded its fourth consecutive 3-0 win of the Group B campaign thanks to a fine team performance from the trio of Matas Skucas, Rimas Lesiv and Matas Vilkas against Azerbaijan. The Czech Republic also maintained its 100% record following a successful trip to Cyprus and the Italian team continued its positive momentum, claiming its eighth group point at Norway’s expense.