Sweden were again too hot for England as the Scandinavians won 3-1 at the World Team Championships in Chengdu today.

Sweden knocked England out in the quarter-finals of the last edition of this event in Halmstad in 2018 and although this meeting was at the group stage, the outcome was the same despite a battling England display.

With Sweden putting up three players inside the world’s top 20, not to mention the luxury of leaving 2019 world individual silver medallist Mattias Falck on the bench, it was a big task for England to bounce back from their opening 3-2 defeat to Poland.

Sam Walker opened up, against last year’s world individual silver medallist Truls Moregard (WR 6) – a clash between some-time doubles partners who together won the Czech Open doubles title last season.

They shared the opening two games, Walker taking the second, before Moregard put his foot down and pulled away in the next two.

It was also four games in the next match as Liam Pitchford put England on the board by defeating Anton Kallberg (WR 20).

At 2-1 and 8-1 to Pitchford, it all looked done, but Kallberg closed to 8-7 and then saved two match points before the Englishman got over the line 11-9 in the fourth.

The task in front of David McBeath was to take something off world No 18 Kristian Karlsson, and he doggedly clawed back a 6-3 deficit in the first to stand at 9-9 before the Swede’s extra experience helped him seal the game.

McBeath lead 4-0 in the second, but an incredible run of 14 straight points saw Karlsson take the second and open up a lead in the third. From there, he was able to coast home.

Pitchford versus Moregard was, as expected, high on quality. The young Swede had to show all his power and variety, refusing to let Pitchford impose his game for more than a few points at a time to win in four and seal the victory for Sweden.

With Poland beating Australia in the other Group 5 match today, the best England can hope for is to beat Australia on Tuesday and finish third in the group – with the two highest-ranked third place finishers set to go through to the last 16.


Sweden 3 England 1
Truls Moregard bt Sam Walker 3-1 (11-5, 9-11, 11-3, 11-5)
Liam Pitchford bt Anton Kallberg 3-1 (11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9)
Kristian Karlsson bt David McBeath 3-0 (11-9, 11-4, 11-4)
Moregard bt Pitchford 3-1 (11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7)