England’s men and women face their first real test after the London 2012 Olympic Games as they face Slovakia and Germany respectively in their opening Joola European Championships Qualifying matches for 2013.

The 2013 Joola European Championships (4-13th October in Schwechat, Austria) will hopefully prove to be another successful development of the young crop of English players who shone in Gdansk/Sopot in 2011.

England’s women, fresh from their promotion from the Challenge Division in Poland, will face one of the favourites in Dessau-Rosslau when they take on Germany on Tuesday.

Both Joanna Parker and Kelly Sibley are set to continue their roles in the England team following their Olympic Games debuts while Hannah Hicks will play as number three.

They are likely to face strong opponents from Germany in the form of their star-studded squad including Wu Jiaduo (WR 14), Kristin Silbereisen (47), Irene Ivancan (39), Zhenqi Barthel (66) and Sabine Winter (123).

Silbereisen, of course, defeated Parker 4-0 at the Olympic Games in the most recent meeting between the sides.

England’s men meanwhile will also involve their Olympic trio with Paul Drinkhall, Liam Pitchford and Andrew Baggaley in action in Senec when they play Slovakia.

In 2011 the men’s team fell to relegation from the Championship Division but 18-year-old Pitchford left his mark on the European Championships with victories over Vladimir Samsonov (BLR) and Alexey Smirnov (RUS).

Slovakia are likely to call upon their squad of Lubomir Pistej (156), Thomas Keinath (95), Peter Sereda (165), Erik Illas (231) and Michal Bardon (188) for a crucial opening fixture between two sides keen on promotion for 2013.

Both England’s men and women will then be involved in a second Joola European Championships Qualifying match when they take on the Romanian men and women respectively in Hull (Hull City Hall) on September 18th.

Tickets are available for the match and can be purchased here.

2013 Joola European Championships Qualifying Squads (4th September)
Slovakia Men vs England Men
(Senec, SVK)
Paul Drinkhall
Liam Pitchford
Andrew Baggaley
Coach: Jia Yi Liu

Germany Women vs England Women (Dessau-Rosslau, GER)
Joanna Parker
Kelly Sibley
Hannah Hicks
Coach: Alan Cooke