Tomorrow (Thursday 28/07) sees the start of the 2016 European Lacrosse Championship, held in Budapest, Hungary, and here at Lacrosse The Pond HQ we are pumped!!!
With the tournament being held every 4 years for the European juggernauts to battle it out see who reigns supreme across the Atlantic, the European Championships are regarded by many to be the pinnacle of lacrosse for the participating nations and this year’s tournament features a record 24 teams attending what will undoubtedly be a fantastic festival of fast and furious lacrosse.
With the old guard of England and Germany looking to keep newcomers Israel at bay as well as the welcome introduction of the host nation of Hungary and the much-anticipated return of Denmark lacrosse (who have left a Viking-shaped hole in all of our lacrosse lives since their last tournament in 2010), this will be a competition full of thrills and the thousands of travelling fans will be treated to a cavalcade of carnage and competitive camaraderie for the full 2-week schedule.
This year, Lacrosse The Pond are well-represented with alumni players representing England (Tom Brook) and Russia (Bobby Grove) and of course LTP Head Honcho Sam Russell is proudly captaining England towards what he hopes will be a gold-defending tournament.
As ever, we’ll be bringing you closer to the action with roundups of the scores from each day including quotes from participating players whenever possible and in true LTP fashion, we will be giving our predictions for the pool champions as well as daily scores so you can all check back and see just how smart we are or out of touch with the lacrosse world we may prove to be (and with 10 games each day from Thursday – Tuesday, there’s a lot of room for error!)…
Day One Predictions
England 13 – 7 Germany
Scotland 7 – Ireland 12
Hungary 10 – 4 Italy
Finland 8 – 4 Slovakia
Switzerland 4 – 17 Israel
Norway 10 – 8 Denmark
Netherlands 11 – 6 France
Sweden 14 – 6 Belgium
Austria 5 – 9 Wales
Czech Republic 9 – 11 Latvia
Game of the day will be at 10:30 on Field 1 where reigning champions England take on old rivals Germany. Die Mannschaft are coached by ex-England player & coach Matt Bagley who will have the inside track on a number of players within this England side whereas an enforced media blackout on the German squad selection itself will ensure the gold-medal holders are kept guessing at tactics and likely lineups of their old sparring partners. Despite this, England Coach Tom Wenham has built a squad glittering with incredible talent and ability as well as proven experience on the international scene and with attacking stars such as Russell, Heyes, Guy and Hunns blending pace, power, poise and panache, they will again be seen as the biggest threat in the tournament, a prediction they very much wish to live up to and deliver upon.
Elsewhere, keep a keen eye on Field 5 at 13:00 where Czech Republic face Latvia. With the Czechs being the dominant force in box lacrosse in Europe, they are always a great side and incredibly enjoyable to watch however Latvia are coming into this game under a head of steam having lifted the coveted Berlin Open Trophy this summer. Latvia are a physical outfit who play strong, aggressive defensive sets and disciplined and well-drilled attacks and many are expecting this year to be the tournament where they truly blossom into a major player in the European scene. Maybe it would be unfair to call them the tournament’s predicted surprise package, but they will definitely be good value for some interesting games.
We’ve gone big on the Israel prediction (sorry Switzerland!), but Israel will be fighting fit with the majority of their players only recently finishing the Israel Premier League in which their national players shone in bright fashion. With a huge desire to return home as champions, Israel will want to start in strong fashion and build confidence to the latter stages against the likes of Germany and England.
What do you think – are we way off the mark? Is our English bias overly confident? Will Die Mannschaft exact revenge on the crushing 15-3 defeat back in 2014? Will the Scots see off the Irish in the Battle of the Celts?
Let us know your thoughts and check back tomorrow to see how wrong we were!
#EC2016 #LTP #EuroLacrosse