The Russian men's badminton team trounced Bulgaria 5-0 in their final group game on Thursday to qualify for the knockout stages of the European Team Championships in Amsterdam.
Fourth seeds Russia will now play France, seeded seventh, in the quarterfinals after finishing unbeaten leaders of a group that also contained Portugal and Wales.
The Russian team dropped only two sets on their way to qualifying from the group.
The women’s team will play Slovenia later Thursday in a battle between the two unbeaten teams in Group Four. Only the winners will go through for a match against either Bulgaria or Finland.
European silver medalists in 2010, the Russian women’s team will face Slovenia without the reigning European champion doubles pair of Nina Vislova and Valeria Sorokina, who have been separated for the first time in the tournament.
Vislova and Sorokina will play with other partners in a move calculated to increase Russia’s chances in the knockout stages, especially against likely quarterfinal opponents Bulgaria, coach Klavdiya Mayorova said Wednesday.
“This the next stage of preparation for games against the Bulgarian women’s team, as well as other difficult matches in the knockout stages,” Mayorova told the Russian Badminton Federation.
Vislova and Sorokina won Russia first and only European gold medal in Warsaw in 2010, but Russia has been a continental badminton force for decades.