UPDATED: 2016 European Championship Groups Announced!
UPDATE: The schedule Of Euro 2016 games released. See infographic below for more info on how it’s all going down in Hungary in late July and early August!
Groups have been announced for the 2016 European Championship!
The European Lacrosse Federation will hold the 2016 Euros just outside of Budapest in Hungary, and this is a big move for European Lacrosse. Not only is it the first time that Hungary will host a championship event, but it’s ALSO the first time Hungary will enter a team into the Euros!
And of course, Hungary was rewarded for their efforts with placement in the “group of death”!
The 2016 European Championships sent us the below press release, so give it a read for more info, and then scroll down to see how all of the groups are shaping up, THEN get our HOT TAKE on how the ECs look for 2016!
Press Release from 2016 EC
The European Lacrosse Federation (ELF) announced that 24 countries will participate in the 2016 European Lacrosse Championships (EC16), which will be held July 28-August 6th in Budapest, Hungary.
A public live draw was held on Sunday, January 10th at 5:30 PM local time (CET). The ELF membership has voted for a balanced pool format, with teams drawn into four pools of six teams each. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the eight-team Championship Bracket.
[fvplayer src=”https://youtube.com/watch?v=aDtMaPrI16M” splash=”https://i.ytimg.com/vi/aDtMaPrI16M/hqdefault.jpg” caption=”2016 European Lacrosse Championships Group Draw”]
With 24 participating nations, EC16 marks the largest European Championship ever, as 96 total matches will be played over the 10-day event. A festival featuring developing lacrosse nations as well as club teams from across the world, as well as a women’s tournament, will also be held.
Newcomer nations are Slovenia, Russia and the home team (Hungary), who are in groups C, D and A respectively. The Hungarian National Team will not have an easy time. The home team will be facing the 2012 EC Champion England, as well as 5th place Germany. The top 4 teams from the 2012 ECs have been hard seeded into each of the four groups.
2016 European Championship – Group Structure
HOT TAKE on EC 2016 Seeding
Group A – England is the long-standing top dog in European Lacrosse. While other countries have seen recent success, England has seen success for decades, and I don’t expect it to stop now. Germany is another European traditional powerhouse program, and along with England they are the heavy favorites to emerge as a top 2 team in the group. The Czech Republic is more heavily box focused, but so is Canada, and we don’t count them out. If the Czechs bring a good squad of experienced offensive guys, they can be dangerous. Italy is a question mark until we see their roster. Latvia is big, athletic, and physical. Their offense is improving, and if they bring a good squad, they could cause some serious problems for more traditional powers. Hungary is brand new, and no one expects them to be a top 2 team in this group, but the experience of playing in the ECs on home soil could do wonders for the growth of lacrosse and future potential in and around Budapest.
Group B – Scotland finished in the Blue Division at the 2014 World Championships, so a lot depends on who shows up for the 2016 Euros. Scotland could compete for a title, or fall or drastically, depending on who plays for them. My guess is the former is more likely than the latter. Ireland is another traditional power program, and like Scotland, it depends on who they bring over for the games. One can not count Wales out of this group either. The Welsh had a strong showing in Denver, and at times they looked great. Consistency will be key for Wales if they want to make it out of the group stage in good standing. Norway is a young and athletic group who made big strides in Denver. Austria is in a similar boat, and while both programs show promise, they are likely a ways off from winning a group. Denmark is still getting their lacrosse program going again, but they are well organized, well coached, and will compete with everyone for full games.
Group C – While Sweden is the “traditional” power in this group, one simply can not look over Israel as a contender. Like Scotland and Ireland, it depends on who plays for them, but the talent level could be ridiculously high. If Israel brings a big name team, they become the top dog in the group, with Sweden holding on to the second spot. Sweden is big and athletic, and they have been a top team in Europe for some time. Switzerland is probably the next best team, but Spain, Slovenia, and Belgium should provide for competitive games between the next four national programs.
Group D – The Netherlands look like a lock to take Group D, but Finland could surprise some folks as they are improving rapidly. At the end of the day, those will likely be the top 2 teams in Group D. Slovakia, Poland, and Russia all give me pause though. Each of those countries are developing like crazy, and change from year to year can be huge. Does one of those programs have the potential to raise up and challenge the Netherlands or Finland? It’s possible! If any of those programs have not improved, France will be there ready to take them down. The bottom four teams in this group are in for some battles.
Overall, it’s a HUGE tourney with lots of good programs playing. When you get down to the final eight, the intensity and level of play will find a new level, and I can’t wait to see it all play out!