The teams that will contest the knockout phase of the Liebherr 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships have been determined and we are a step closer to finding out who will be the best table tennis team on earth here in Halmstad, Sweden.
After three days of intense battle in the round robin phase, China, Japan and Korea Republic all secured all five victories to top their respective Groups (A, B & D) to qualify directly to the quarter-finals.
Romania was able to come in first in Group C, but not without difficulties. The European Champions who had lost to Netherlands earlier on the first day due to their coach Viorel FILIMON being late for the coin toss, resulting in the team having to play with their default team according to alphabetical order. This meant their top two players Bernadette SZOCS and Elizabeta SAMARA had to miss out on the action and Romania eventually lost 1-3 to Netherlands.
Determined to finish first in the group to advance directly to the quarter-finals, a pumped up Romanian trio of SZOCS, SAMARA and Daniela DODEAN MONTEIRO were in top form to secure both victories today against third seed Chinese Taipei 3-0 and the talented DPR Korea 3-1 against all the odds.
After an emotional victory against DPR Korea, SAMARA stated “After what happened against the Netherlands, it took us awhile to regain our focus. Once we did we were determined to fight, and not let this setback send us home early. We play our best when the pressure is on and our backs are against the wall. This is what us Romanians do.”