After competing in all but 1 of the events since 1978, Italy (pic: Davide Biancetti and Marcus Berrett) celebrated their 1st appearance in the men’s semi-finals of the European Team Championships after beating Czech Republic 4/0 in the final Division 1 qualifying round in Espoo, Finland. Earlier, the Italians went down 0/4 to defending champions England – but will now face 2nd seeds France for a place in the final. Following comfortable 4/0 victories over both Italy and Wales, favourites England will take on 3rd seeds Netherlands in the other semi. England made a notable breakthrough in the Women’s Division 1 event where the 3rd seeds beat No2 seeds France 3/0 to finish as Pool B winners. Winners of the title every year until 2010, England will now face 4th seeds Ireland for a place in the final. Women’s last year’s titleholder Netherlands will meet France in the other semi.