Teams That Made Their Mark at the European Championships
There are many teams that have made their mark at the European Championships, including Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Spain. We take a look at each of these teams, and the players who made their mark. You may be surprised at the number of world-ranked players that are on the team from these countries.
Ukraine made their mark at the European Championships by winning two group matches and one knockout match, and are aiming to improve on their 2016 performance. Their line-up was largely unchanged from that of the previous edition, with only four members from the 2016 squad remaining. Ukraine’s team included Andriy Pyatov, Serhiy Sydorchuk, Andriy Yarmolenko, Taras Stepanenko, Oleksandr Karavayev, and Oleksandr Karakayev. Ukraine’s team was coached by Andriy Shevchenko, who took over as head coach. Ukraine’s performance was undoubtedly impressive, as they advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in their history, and beat Sweden on penalties.
Georgia made its mark at the European Championships with four medals and a top-two finish. Lia Chachibaia won the -52 kg category, Ana Japaridze won the -57 kg category, Sandro Megrelishvili won the -63 kg category and David Makadze won the +80 kg category. Uzbekistan’s Guljonoy Naimova continued her incredible run since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by winning her group 16-2. Georgia’s Garcia Lopez needed to win the European title on the Golden Point round, but she avoided losing to the Uzbek champion and her third consecutive final.
Uzbekistan made a name for themselves at the European Championships by winning two gold medals and two bronze medals. The country has a large population, almost half of which are non-Uzbeks. The country also boasts the highest percentage of people with 10 or more children under the age of 20.
Having missed out on the World Championships in 2014, Spain made their mark at the European Championships in Budapest. The team has been competing in the Europeans since 1954. Their recent history has been a mixed bag. In 1994, they reached the final for four consecutive years and went on to win two more medals, the first of which was silver. In 2006, they finished fourth and then reached the semifinals for the first time since 1982. Two years later, they came away with gold, a first for the country.
The German women’s team made a big impression at the 1980 European Championships, winning the tournament for the first time in their history. After a draw against Greece, they beat the Netherlands 3-1 in the final. The team’s goalkeeper, Uli Hoeness, was an inspiration during the tournament.
Denmark have made their mark at the European Championships and pushed the Scandinavian nation to new heights. While they lack the flair of the South American teams, they have a more tactical style of play. Their star players are former Bayern Munich forward Brian Laudrup and goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. Both players have been heavily coached and are expected to deliver results.
Austria made their mark at the European Championships this year, beating Germany in the group stage. Most analysts had predicted a Germany thrashing, but instead Austria held their shape and threatened on the break. In the first half, they were the better team, and it was clear that they were causing Germany a lot of anxiety.