World Championships | 21 Feb 2024

Denmark defeated Slovenia to reach the quarterfinals at the World Championships

The Round of 16 in the Men’s Team Event at the ITTF World Team Championships 2024 in Busan concluded with Denmark's surprising victory over Slovenia.

Ranked 19th in the World Rankings, Denmark defeated Hungary in the Round of 32 with Jonathan GROTH, Anders LIND, and Tobias RASMUSSEN facing off against Tamas LAKATOS, Adam SZUDI, and Csaba ANDRAS.

On the other side, Slovenia, ranked 12th in the world, led by world No. 15 Darko JORGIC, exceeded expectations by defeating Brazil to advance directly to the Round of 16. However, in today’s match, they lost to Denmark. The duel lasted five matches, with Darko JORGIC winning both of his encounters against RASMUSSEN and LIND. GROTH defeated KOZUL in the third position, while LIND and RASMUSSEN both prevailed against HRIBAR. In the next round, they will face Korea.

Japan and China will play for the medal at the top of the draw, while in the bottom half, Germany will meet Taipei, and France will meet Portugal. Germany secured their ticket for the Olympic Games by beating Iran.

In first singles match against world number 51 Noshad ALAMIYAN, European champion Dang QIU prevailed in four games with a focused performance. Dimitrij OVTCHAROV then defeated Nima, the older of the ALAMIAN brothers, in three games. The 35-year-old ten-time European champion showed improvement compared to the preliminary rounds in his unexpected search for new equipment. Patrick FRANZISKA won an intense match against Amir Hossein HODAEI. Saarbrücken's three-time European Games winner had to fend off three game points against the seven-year younger WTT Feeder semifinalist from Antalya when the score was tied at 1-1 in sets. After a hard-fought match against the highly aggressive HODAEI, a skilled server, prevailed in five games with a hard-fought victory.

"No nation in the world likes to play against Iran," Dang QIU clarified. "They have three strong players with very individual playing styles. In addition, there is their team spirit. With their fighting spirit, they have often impressed in team competitions." Regarding the quarterfinals, the 27-year-old QIU said: "This time we got a really tough draw. It will be a 50-50 match on equal terms. The same would have applied for Sweden."

France overcame Poland on their way to the quarterfinals. Brothers Felix and Alexis LEBRUN and Simon GAZY defeated Milosz REDZIMSKI, Jakub DYJAS, and Samuel KULCZYCKI. DYJAS forced Alexis LEBRUN to go the full distance. Previously, Poland beat Czechia in straight matches.

Alexis LEBRUN said: “The Polish team is never easy to play against. They have four good players so it's never easy. But we won 3-0, a tough match but we won also. We are very, very happy about this and yeah, we are in the quarterfinals so we try to take our revenge of the last World championship. Portugal is a very strong team. We know them a lot because in Europe they play so good in the world championship. They are always a very strong team and hard to beat them. So it will be a very intense match, and we try our best to go to the semifinals.”

One of the biggest upsets was created in the Round of 32 when Croatia beat Brazil to reach the Round of 16. Andrej GACINA, Tomislav PUCAR, and Filip ZELJKO failed to repeat the performance a few hours later against Portugal. Marcos FREITAS, Tiago APOLONIA, and Joao GERALDO safely reached the quarters in the match where Tomislav PUCAR was the only one to score against GERALDO.

“The game was very good. Croatia is a top team in Europe. We know each other for many years. They're very experienced, like our team, and we knew they will fight a lot. I think they were a bit tired because they played today. The first match was very important and we started well,” said Marcos FREITAS.

Speaking of the match against France, FREITAS said: “France is a top team. We played a very close match last time against them in the European games, and it's a very important duel for the medal. So we will give everything and fight. We can bring a medal home for sure. We beat France before a few times now. They are very strong at the moment, but we will give our best.”