Netherlands targets more than quarterfinalsPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
The best ranked European side at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships starts its campaign against Ukraine, this Sunday in Kuala Lumpur
Four times quarterfinalist in a row, Netherlands women’s national team is determined to repeat that achievement at least on the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which starts this Sunday. As the best ranked European country (no. 3, behind China and Japan), they will try to make one more step and reach first ever medal.
The same trio – LI Jie (world’s no. 18), LI Jiao (no. 25) and Britt EERLAND (no. 99) – will emerge in the Netherlands line-up. Two years ago, at the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Championships in Tokyo, they started from 15th place at the seeding list, but progressed to the quarterfinals.
After three defeats during the group stage (South Korea 2:3, Luxembourg 3:1, Singapore 1:3, France 3:0, Russia 2:3), triple European champions showed their best in the Round 16 clash against Chinese Taipei (3:0). Quarterfinal duel with Japan was tied after four matches, but in the decisive one Britt EERLAND lost to Kasumi ISHIKAWA 3:2 (11:8, 11:7, 8:11, 9:11, 11:6).
The 43 year-old LI Jiao is ready to lead her side again, after four consecutive quarterfinals: 2008 Guangzhou, 2010 Moscow, 2012 Dortmund and 2014 Tokyo. Double individual European champion (Belgrade 2007, Gdansk-Sopot 2011) shows an impressive steadiness in almost two decades in the table tennis. After all, she is the winner of inaugural 2015 European Games in Baku, beating in the final her team mate from the national teammate, LI Jie. Moreover, they secured gold for Netherlands in the Team Event.
Bearing in mind LI Jie`s silver at the 2015 ITTF European Championships, four months ago in Yekaterinburg, Netherlands has one more reason for optimism.