Sweden’s men’s national team is among the favorites to take home the EC gold in team table tennis at home in the Malmö arena. So far, the team has lived up to expectations.
After two out of two possible victories in the group against Italy (3–0) and the Czech Republic (3–1), the Swedes were rested on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
However, the game break did not lead to any ring rustiness. Sweden beat Austria with a simple 3-0 in matches in the round of 16.
Karlsson played the second single
World champion Truls Möregårdh had no problem giving Sweden a 1-0 lead. The 108-ranked Austrian Andreas Levenko was defeated with a clear 3–0 in the set.
Kristian Karlsson (ranked 37th) got the chance in the third singles in the group finale against the Czech Republic – in the premiere, Anton Källberg (21) played the third match.
Now the national team captain Jörgen Persson threw in Karlsson as second instead of 20-ranked Mattias Falck. The 32-year-old Karlsson showed the breadth and high class of the Swedish men’s national team – the Swede beat Robert Gardos 3-0 after the set numbers 11-9, 11-9, 11-9.
— It was a good match. Definitely better than my first match (against the Czech Republic). It was an extremely even set, says Kristian Karlsson to SVT.
Thus, it was obvious for 32-year-old Falck to secure victory against the ten-year-younger Maciej Kolodziejczyk (ranked 277th in the world). A situation that Falck managed. Admittedly, the Swede lost the second set, but he won 3–1 in the set and secured Sweden’s advancement.
Has 14 EC gold medals
In Friday’s quarter-final, Sweden faces Hungary. In case of victory, the winner between France and Belgium awaits in the semi-finals on Saturday.
With its 14 EC team golds, Sweden is the best in history, but the most recent gold came in 2002. Germany has won three straight team ECs and is also in Malmö through to the quarter-finals, but the countries can only meet in a possible final on Sunday.
The Swedish ladies have also reached the quarter-finals and will meet Portugal there.