05 Feb Belgrade 2016 qualification gets underway By: Tim Hartog National Teams, European Championships, Qualification Starting Friday the long road to the Belgrade 2016 European Championships will start for men's and women's teams not able to finish with the top 8 or top 5 at the last 2014 European Championships in Budapest. Two mini tournament will see plenty of opportunities for new teams to step in as the 2016 edition of Europe's continental championship hold an extended range of participants as now 16 men's and 12 women's teams will play for the top honours. In 4 men's groups, played across Europe, the sides that did participate in Budapest last summer can be considered favourite to claim their spot at the 2016 championships as well. But apart from Georgia, Russia, Germany and France, the question will be which 'new' sides could join them to the final round. First up however is this weekend's first round, followed by an other, 2nd round, mid-October after which the cumulative best 8 sides will qualify for the championships. The same goes for the women although here it will be the top 6 sides who join the 6 directly qualified teams, including hosts Serbia. In this case the top 5 from the 2014 championships qualified directly meaning 2011 world champions Greece, who finished a dissapointing 6th, will have to play qualification. The Greek women were drawn in group B and will play Croatia, Israel and Germany over the weekend in Zagreb. 2016 European Championships Belgrade, serbia Qualification Tournament Round 1 MEN Group A (in Tbilisi, Georgia) Friday, 6 February 18.45: Georgia vs. Slovakia 20.00: Portugal vs. Switzerland Saturday, 7 February 17.00: Slovakia vs. Portugal 18.45: Georgia vs. Switzerland Sunday, 8 February 10.00: Switzerland vs. Slovakia 11.45: Georgia vs. Portugal Group B (in Gorzow, Poland) Friday, 6 February 17.00: Ukraine vs. Israel 18.30: Poland vs. Russia Saturday, 7 February 17.00: Russia vs. Ukraine 18.30: Poland vs. Israel Sunday, 8 February 09.00: Russia vs. Israel 10.30: Poland vs. Ukraine Group C (in Utrecht, Netherlands) Friday, 6 February 19.45: Netherlands vs. Latvia 21.15: France vs. Malta Saturday, 7 February 15.15: Netherlands vs. Malta 16.45: France vs. Latvia Sunday, 8 February 12.15: Malta vs. Latvia 13.45: Netherlands vs. France Group D (in Istanbul, Turkey) Friday, 6 February 18.00: Germany vs. Lithuania 19.30: Turkey vs. Belarus Saturday, 7 February 18.00: Turkey vs. Lithuania 19.30: Belarus vs. Germany Sunday, 8 February 12.00: Lithuania vs. Belarus 13.30: Turkey vs. Germany * Live streaming of all group D matches available, click here. Hosts in round 2 (9-11 October, 2015): Russia, Israel, France and Malta. Playing format: • Two rounds of robin tournaments at different venues. • New draw will be conducted after Round I, with new seeding based on the classification in Round I. Points achieved are carried to Round II. Teams of a group of three will have three points added. • First two seeded sides of the cumulative rankings from each group (8 teams) will promote to the European Championships to be held in Belgrade (SRB) in 2016. Directly qualified: Serbia (hosts), Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Croatia, Greece, Spain, Romania. WOMEN Group A (in Longwy, France) Friday, 6 February 18.00: Portugal vs. Turkey 20.00: France vs. Switzerland Saturday, 7 February 18.00: Switzerland vs. Turkey 19.45: France vs. Portugal Sunday, 8 February 09.00: Portugal vs. Switzerland 11.00: France vs. Turkey Group B (in Zagreb, Croatia) Friday, 6 February 20.30: Croatia vs. Greece 21.45: Israel vs. Germany Saturday, 7 February 18.00: Croatia vs. Israel 19.15: Germany vs. Greece Sunday, 8 February 11.00: Greece vs. Israel 12.15: Croatia vs. Germany N.b.: times mentioned are local time. Hosts in round 2 (9-11 October, 2015): Germany and Portugal. Playing format: • Two rounds of robin tournaments at different venues. • New draw will be conducted after Round I, with new seeding based on the classification in Round I. Points achieved are carried to Round II. • First three seeded sides of the cumulative rankings from both groups (6 teams) will promote to the European Championships to be held in Belgrade (SRB) in 2016. Directly qualified: Spain, Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Serbia (hosts).