Welcome back to Quaffles & Bludgers! After weeks of watching these teams go head to head across the continent, we’re happy to bring you the thrilling conclusion to the Euro Cup Group Stage! Unfortunately, those who do not qualify for the next round will be returning home after their final match, unable to continue in the Euro Cup this year.
Once again, we at the Daily Prophet would like to remind readers that the European Cup Final will be held in Doda Pilii, Romania. Tent rentals will be available August 14th with the Final being held on the 21st. Tickets will be offered at 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class prices with seating available for each tier and they will also be going on sale August 14th.
|Top Five Teams|
|Pride of Portree|
|San Pietro Lupi|
Schengen Kropemann [Luxembourg] 680 – 220 Plovdiv Raptors [Bulgaria]
Starting the week in Bulgaria, fans arrived to see who would take the remaining place in Group C and move on to the next stage. There wasn’t much hope in the performance the Plovdiv Raptors would be bringing to this match, but fans held out hope that perhaps the Bulgarian team would do something to see them move on to the next round. The match started out with the Raptors giving their all and surprisingly holding off the Luxembourg team while they racked up the goals. Unfortunately, this didn’t last as the Kropemann team seemed to only be waiting for the Raptors to wear themselves out. As the Raptors began to lose steam, the Kropemann began to fight in earnest, managing to render the Raptors not only defeated but near extinct. It was when the score sat at 530 to 220 that Schengen seeker, Anissa Bode managed to capture the snitch. Ending the match and securing Kropemann’s place in the next round.
Vatican Vampires [Italy] 290 – 680 Holyhead Harpies [British & Irish]
The final fight for group D began in Wales with Vatican and Holyhead locking horns. As all group D teams entered this week with 1 win, 1 loss each, it was all to play for; the two teams that won would be the two that moved onto the next stage. Both teams in this match were astutely aware of that, and both gave it their all. Holyhead took a few green sparkings early on, mainly thanks to Vitrac and Kendrick, but if anything that spurred them onto victory. It didn’t take Holyhead long to take a heavy lead and finally capture the snitch, earning them a place in the round of 16.
Agincourt Axes [France] 180 – 660 Provence Princes [France]
The match between Agincourt and Provence was an interesting one. Agincourt were certain they had to win it to ensure they qualified for the knockout stages, but Provence knew Agincourt would qualify regardless. Because of this strange dynamic, Agincourt came out of the gate like their lives depended on it, while Provence did their best to match Agincourt’s speed and play for fun – something they clearly had trouble with. Provence ended up applying too much pressure, and their seeker had no choice but to catch the snitch after Agincourt’s Séverine Bonnaire went out for a Red Sparking. Provence won with an impressive 660-180, but it ultimately meant nothing.
Bordeaux Bludgers [France] 250 – 270 Poznan Rusalkas [Poland]
The match in Poland made for an exciting but quick one as the Bordeaux Bludgers and Poznan Rusalkas took their final shot at moving forward in the Cup. Out of the gate, both teams made it clear that they weren’t playing around, with goals being scored left and right on both sides with the sort of ferocity one can only expect at life or death moments like this. After an intense fight between the two, with Bordeaux being left in the dirt proper, 100 to 270, their seeker decided to put an end to the embarrassment. With the match ending 250 to 270, neither team managed to secure their place in the next round of the tournament.
Bucharest Lampi [Romania] 380 – 190 Constanta Fangs [Romania]
It is always hard seeing two teams from the same country facing each other on the European stage, but knowing one of them will be sent home after the match is almost too much to bear. Bucharest and Constanta wanted as many chances at a Romanian victory in the Cup as possible, but only one of them would get that chance. Neither wanted to go home, neither wanted to send the other home, and what resulted was a brutal match of painful goals, heartfelt bludgerings, and rainfalls of tears. In the end, Romanian League winners Bucharest took the snitch – though they spent plenty of time after the pitch wishing their home rivals a safe journey home.
Vrasta Vultures [Bulgaria] 610 – 440 Grodzisk Goblins [Poland]
In Poland once again, we watched a David and Goliath battle gone wrong as the Grodzisk Goblins and the Vrasta Vultures faced off. Throughout the tournament, the Goblins have had a hard time holding their own, being the underdog of the competition. Fans filled the pitch stands hoping for some redemption for the Polish team. The Goblins came out of the gate fighting tooth and nail as though their very lives depended on it and as far as the tournament was concerned it did. The team had a fair start, holding their own against the giants known as the Vrasta Vultures but the turning point happened when the score sat at 460-440 in favour of the Vultures. It was at this point that the Goblins’ seeker Gahariet Bukoski shot off after the snitch. Vultures seeker, Job Lazarov was quick to dart after them however it looked as though Bukoski had it in the bag. Just before her fingers closed around the snitch, Vultures beaters, Daskalov and Kaloyanov both struck, their bludgers knocking the Polish seeker from the air and allowing Lazarov to catch the snitch and end the game in the Vultures’ favour. With the Goblins finishing the round with no wins, it was a defeat that left players and fans alike in tears.
Sardegna QC [Italy] 600 – 640 Karasjok Kites [Norway]
The first Side B match of the week took place in Norway, with the Karasjok Kites and Sardegna QC battling it out for the final Group D spot. The stands were deadly quiet as fans sat on the edge of their seats, anxiously awaiting the match to begin and once it did we were given an impressive show! Fans who watched the Karasjok Kites early on in the season will remember the way they’d demolished the Holyhead Harpies in their first match, and Sardegna QC seemed to remember too, refusing to give the Norwegian team such an easy victory. Instead, the two teams battled it out, with Sardegna taking the eventual lead. Just when it looked as though the Italian team had it in the bag, the Kites captured the snitch, securing them the victory and their place in the next round!
Bigonville Bombers [Luxembourg] 610 – 270 Lisbon Rosas [Portugal]
In Portugal, we waited to see who would move forward in Group E alongside the Agincourt Axes. It had already been decided that the Broomfleet would be representing Portugal and the Kropemann seemed fit to represent Luxembourg but which country would pull off a second team? At first it appeared as though the Lisbon Rosas would be taking the lead but the Bombers appeared to only be biding their time, letting the Portugal team wear themselves out before turning up the pressure. By the second hour’s start, Luxembourg had left the Rosas in the dust with a far enough lead that not even a snitch catch could save them. A snitch catch they proceeded to deny the Lisbon team, widening the gap even further. With this victory under their belt, the Bigonville Bombers secured their place in the next round and sent the Lisbon Rosas packing.
Prague Flames [Czech Republic] 280 – 130 Parisian Hellhounds [France]
Over in the Czech Republic, the match to decide the winners of group F was underway. Prague and Paris both stood a good chance to take the match going into it, but after around 30 minutes, Paris seemed to slow down. 100 up, Paris opted to ‘park the Knight Bus’ – which Prague must have been waiting for. In a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ display, the 40th minute saw the two teams 130-130, and in the 42nd, Prague’s seeker flew off with the snitch. Some Prague fans speculated at the end that Paris had slowed down deliberately – and when looking at their possible route through the knockouts now, one might believe it.
Bavarian Erklings [Germany] 390 – 510 Appleby Arrows [British & Irish]
Our only trip to Germany this week saw the deciding match of group G. The Erklings were looking the favourite at the bookies, but as we’ve seen over the last year, Appleby are not a team to underestimate, and they proved that tenfold in this match. Erkling beaters hounded both Barnett and captain Parsons to give their chasers a clearer run down the pitch, but McNee and Moore picked up the slack with phenomenal resolve. The score reached 390-360 after around 4 hours, and sat there for another 2, with neither team wanting to let up even for a second. Appleby’s seeker Butcher, however, had had enough by that point, and managed to corkscrew past the Bavarian seeker to steal the snitch just as the clock passed 7 hours. With that catch, Butcher not only secured Appleby’s group G win, but also sent the Erklings home, with Bucharest Lampi landing in second place.
Pride of Portree [British & Irish] 690 – 310 Falmouth Falcons [British & Irish]
The final match of the group stage took us to Britain, where two heavyweights came to blows. During the recent season, Pride and Falmouth were constantly overtaking each other, until eventually Falmouth secured a second place finish. To say Pride were looking for revenge in this final group stage match might have been an understatement; from kick off Pride flew like bats out of hell, and quickly made Falmouth look like a Sunday League team. Falmouth made some good counters and picked up the pace, but Pride were just that slight bit faster. They secured the snitch just as Falmouth’s chasers scored a spectacular goal from the halfway line – Falmouth’s final act in the Euro Cup. With the snitch caught, Pride won group H by 30 points.
With that, we bring this week and this round to a close. Many teams have come and given their best but only sixteen of the thirty-two move on to the Knockout Stage. We wish these teams luck and look forward to covering their matches as they battle it out to see who will move on to the quarter final!