Below you can find a collection of National Team Pool D Rosters for the upcoming 2016 European Lacrosse Championships! Not all the countries have made their rosters public, but many have, so here’s the roster info you absolutely need to know, as well as links to full rosters, where available.
Below the team-by-team analysis, you can find my group preview, and my pick for the Top 2 finishers in Pool D. The top 2 qualify for the quarterfinals, so this is a big deal!
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While Finland finished 3 spots ahead of the Netherlands, due to their placement in 2012, they enter this group as the top seed, if there ever is such a thing! The Dutch have a strong group assembled, and at least half the team played for the national team in 2014, which means experience, and plenty of it, on both ends of the field. Look out for Jimmy Van De Veerdonk, he’s electric, and he’s not alone on offense. You’ll also see good goaltending, a big, tenacious defense, and plenty of size and athleticism. It’s the Netherlands, what else would you expect?
With the recent passing of Bill Bjorness, a former assistant coach the Dutch national team, you can be sure that this squad will play with purpose. Bjorness was an assistant to Head Coach Neal Powless in Denver in 2014.
Finland looks strong, like really, really strong. At least on paper. This team is loaded up with guys from Denver in 2014, and from Onondaga in 2015. It’s not a team of youngsters at all. It’s a team of veterans, and they could potentially make a deep run in this year’s Euros. Robert Raitilla, Chris Summers, Jarno Altonen, Roope Jokela, Anssi Kaisalmi, Jimi Wiren, and others bring a ton of skill and experience to this team. You have some smooth dodgers and some serious shooters. And these guys are in shape. Defensively, Finland has two proven goalies, and an aggressive defense that can dictate pace and tempo. Finland looks like a contender in 2016.
You can find the entire Finland roster HERE.
The team from Slovakia will face some good competition in Pool D, and has players from a number of different clubs involved in the national program. With a heavy box lacrosse influence, the Slovakian team will likely look inside a lot, so lower tier teams can’t sleep in these games whatsoever. Pool D should have some absolute battles.
You can find the entire Slovakia Lacrosse roster HERE.
France held their first national team tryouts in March, and I haven’t seen a roster yet. I’m sure it’s sorted though. Some of the teams have been working at this event for a while, so I’m curious to see how prepared France is, and how they perform, especially against Russia, whom they edged for 31st place in 2014.
Poland looks to bring a formidable team to the EC16 event, and has realistic hopes to crack into the Top 2 in Pool D, and make a quarterfinal run. Lacrosse continues to improve and grow in Poland. It’s physical, and the skill level is catching up to the mindset. With a couple American college players thrown into the mix, Poland looks dangerous.
See Poland’s full UPDATED roster, HERE. Thanks to “madjer” for the link!
Russia sent a team to Denver in 2014, but many of their biggest contributors aren’t on the roster for 2016. That makes sense as this lacrosse nation is still building its program base. There are a bunch of players born in Russia, who grew up playing in the US, and there is also a wide range in ages for Russia. Big ups to Dan Willson, an assistant coach, who’s been involved with LAS in the past. Keep it up and good luck!
Pool D Preview
According to the World Rankings from 2014, the Pool D teams should finish like this (final 2014 ranking in parentheses):
1 – Finland (13th overall), 2 – Netherlands (16th overall), 3 – Poland (20th overall), 4 – Slovakia (24th overall, 5 – France (31st overall), 6 – Russia (32nd overall)
I like Finland and the Netherlands to finissh 1 and 2, with a tight race for third, but I have no idea who takes the top spot and who gets second. I’ll go with Finland, because of their 2014 placement, but it’s tight.