Up on the 53rd floor of Malmö’s landmark Turning Torso, the group stage for the European Table Tennis Championships for teams in Malmö 10-17 September was drawn. A top draw (!), you could say when Truls Möregårdh and Linda Bergström had the honor of picking the draw balls for the group stage.
Picture: A lovely view of Öresund and the bridge at the ETTC draw. Photo: Linda Carlsson
– Good draw. I think it’s a good and interesting task, said Tobias Bergman, the women’s national team captain.
Sweden is ranked eight and ended up in the first seeding group together with Spain and Greece.
– We have played against Spain and we know them well. At the WTTC for teams last year, we ended up in a difficult group, performed well but didn’t get the win. We haven’t played a team event for a while so it will be fun with team support, said Tobias Bergman.
A good scenario would of course be to win the group and to get a slightly more favorable draw in the playoffs. Two teams from each group advance to the round of 16. As a winner, you have to face a group runner-up.
– First of all, the goal is to win the group and then reach the quarter-finals. It would have been fun if we could win a medal, said Linda Bergström.
Picture: Truls Möregårdh ensures that Poland ends up in Group G in the women’s class. Photo: Linda Carlsson
Sweden’s women’s team have won three bronze medals over the years, in 1962, 2002 and 2014. On the last occasion, Linda Bergström was in the team. Of course, it would have tasted good with another medal.
The men are ranked second behind reigning champions Germany. Here, of course, the goal is to be able to take home the noblest medal.
– We aim for gold, said Truls Möregårdh.
The Czech Republic and Italy ended up in Sweden’s group.
– We know the players well and there are no surprises. I have even met Mihai Bobocica in Italy so he has been around for a few years, said Jörgen Persson, the men’s national team captain.
Picture: Mikael Andersson interviews Jörgen Persson, and Truls Möregårdh and Linda Bergström seem to like his answer. Photo: Linda Carlsson
Jörgen Persson thought it was a good draw for Sweden, although Truls would have liked to see Finland in Sweden’s group. Then he had to face his club mate in Eslöv, Alex Naumi and they also have Benedek Olah, who knocked out Anton Källberg at the WTTC. Now it didn’t turn out that way.
– It is good to face two good opponents. Should things go too easily in the group stage, the risk is that you will not be fully charged when the playoffs start, said Jörgen Persson.
The ETTC in Malmö is incredibly important. In fact, a direct qualification for the Olympics is in the pot with a victory at the ETTC.
– It is very important that everyone comes to Malmö and supports us. It would be awesome with a full Malmö Arena, said Truls Möregårdh.
Picture: Our Swedish players and captains at the press conference. From left: Jörgen Persson, Truls Möregårdh, Linda Bergström and Tobias Bergman. Photo: Linda Carlsson
Draw for the ETTC for teams, 10-17 September 2023
Group A: GER-POL-FIN
Group B: SWE-CZE-ITA
Group C: FRA-UKR-SRB
Group D: POR-HUN-GRE
Group E: CRO-AUT-SUI
Group F: SLO-DEN-TUR
Group G: ENG-ROU-NOR
Group H: BEL-SVK-NED
Group A: GER-AUT-ENG
Group B: ROU-SLO-CRO
Group C: FRA-ITA–TUR
Group D: POR-SRB-BUL
Group E: SVK-CZE-NED
Group F: HUN-UKR-BEL
Group G: LUX-POL-WAL
Group H: SWE-ESP-GRE