European footy fans can officially start putting their Euro Cup 2018 viewing plans in place today, with AFL Europe thrilled to confirm the official fixture for Europe’s premier international nine-a-side tournament next Saturday.
With 64 matches across a jam-packed game of footy, it will be hard to know where to look at times, but you can see the full schedule, highlights, and an explanation of how the ranked draw was conducted below.
AFL Europe began the fixturing process by ranking all 15 men’s and 9 women’s sides using their most recent 3-year history at the tournament, to create a draw that would best deliver a fair fixture for all competing sides.
The resultant draw saw the 15 teams competing in the men’s division divided into three groups of four teams and one group of three teams, while the 9 sides contesting the women’s division were separated into one group of four and another group of five teams.
Given the disparity between some group sizes, match length has been extended slightly for matches in Men’s Group C (3 teams) and Women’s Group A (4 teams) to ensure that playing and rest time is ultimately even between all 24 sides across the day.
Teams will play each other team in their pool once throughout the group stages, with the top side in each men’s pool progressing to a quarter-final against a second-placed side from another group, and top two sides in women’s pools progressing to semi-finals. All other sides will continue to play to determine their overall final ranking.
Sweden Ravens v German Eagles – Women’s Group B – 9:00am
It’s a historic start to Euro Cup 2018 as the German Eagles women make their competitive tournament debut against last year’s bronze medalists from Sweden. Both nations have come on in leaps and bounds on the domestic front in the last twelve months, and after the Ravens became the fairytale story of Euro Cup 2017 reaching the semi-final, the Eagles will be out to make a similar first impression in Cork.
You can catch all the action for the opening match live via Bar TV’s online stream through AFL Europe social media channels.
England Vixens v Danish Valkyries – Women’s Group B – 9:00am
Group B of the women’s draw serves up another fascinating contest early in the day, with the English Vixens title defence beginning against a returning Danish Valkyries, who are back at the tournament for the first time since 2016. Expectations are high in both Danish camps as their men and women both publically their sights on semi-final berths, so the Vixens can expect their back-to-back credentials will be put to the test in this early morning belter.
Croatian Knights v Tel Aviv Cheetahs – Men’s Group C – 10:10am
Croatian skipper Ivan Ivos has admitted that he considered his sides Euro Cup 2017 to be a disappointing campaign, given the momentum the Knights brought into the tournament as the then newly crowned champions of Division Two at the International Cup in Melbourne, and their road to redemption begins with a clash against the new kids on the block from Israel.
Tel Aviv takes over from the Jerusalem Peace Lions as the competitions Israeli representatives, bringing some familiar faces and experience that stretches back to the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Team days that will provide a stern test to the ever-vociferous Knights in their tournament opener.
Croatia will undoubtedly be one of the sides to watch, as they eye their third Euro Cup title having previously taken the top honour in Milan 2010 and Lisbon 2016.
England Dragonslayers v French Coqs – Men’s Group D – 1:05pm
The third and final round of matches in Group D serves up what could be a cross-channel classic, with the title holders facing their southern neighbours with top-spot in the pool potentially on the line.
England will be confident of pushing deep into the finals once again, but have every reason to be wary of a French line-up that are well drilled over the nine-a-side format and which put the fear of God up an extremely talented Australian Spirit lineup at the ANZAC Cup in April.
The Dragonslayers won’t take a backward step though, with captain Matt Whiteley saying the team ‘’have all the personnel [to have us] capable of defending our crown.’’ We’ll have to wait and see.
Irish Banshees v French Gauloises – Women’s Group A – 1:40pm
Another clash that is likely to have a big bearing of the makeup of the women’s division finals matches, the 18-a-side world champion Irish Banshee’s will be desperate to account for the French and secure the top spot in Group A as they chase Euro Cup redemption on home soil.
The scars from last year’s Grand Final defeat remain tender for the Banshee’s but they will be hell-bent on revenge in 2018, and this match against the Gauloises will go a long way to setting up the salivating prospect of a Grand Final rematch against the Vixens should they come out on top.
The French women though, like their male counterparts, showed at the ANZAC Cup that they will be no pushovers and they themselves could be eyeing top-spot come this final fixture of Group A.
FOLLOW ALL THE EURO CUP ACTION THIS SATURDAY LIVE ON BARTV FROM 9:00AM, AND ACROSS ALL AFL EUROPE SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS THROUGHOUT THE DAY