ESF European Team Division 1 Squash Championships: Men's preview

General News

ESF European Team Division 1 Squash Championships: Men's preview

The 49th ESF European Team Championship at Squash Arena in Zurich from 1-4 May will see seven nations bidding to stop England claiming a 44th title Division 1 title.

England have a formidable looking men's squad as they aim to win the trophy for a fourth successive time - with both ElShorbagy brothers (Mohamed and Marwan) now in their line-up. France, winners most recently in 2018, will be led by mini maestro Victor Crouin and boast several highly experienced pros. Wales and Switzerland also have star turns in Joel Makin and Nicholas Muller.

We're all set for an intriguing week in Zurich. Let's take a closer look at the men's teams:



The 43-time European champions now have both ElShorbagy brothers in their armoury after Marwan joined Mohamed in changing allegiance from Egypt last summer. With recent Czech Open champion Patrick Rooney, in-form veteran Declan James, experienced captain Adrian Waller and dazzling youngsters Finnlay Withington and Curtis Malik also in the squad, England will once again be the team to beat.

Key player: Mohamed ElShorbagy
Young gun: Curtis Malik
Full squad
Coach: Nick Matthew & Tania Bailey


Wales' best-ever finish in the Men's European Team Championship was runners-up in 1997 in Odense, Denmark, when they had former world No.5 (now PSA Chief Executive) Alex Gough and former British Open winner David Evans in their line-up. Now, world no.10 Joel Makin is their star player, backed up by experienced names such as Emyr Evans, Owain Taylor and Elliott Morris Devred. Debutant Ioan Sharpe has been an impressive figure recently on the ESF junior circuit.

Key player: Joel Makin
Young gun: Ioan Sharpe
Full squad
Coach: Greg Tippings


Spain finished a best-ever third in Wroclaw in 2018 and the same two stars who were the mainstay of that campaign - Iker Pajares and Borja Golan - are still in the squad this year. Golan, now aged 41, retired from the PSA Tour in 2022. The 17-time national champion is joined in Uster by world no.19 Pajares, an 11-time PSA Tour title winner, and world no.50 Bernat Jaume.

Key player: Iker Pajares
Young gun: Ivan Perez
Full squad
Coach: Borja Golan


Ireland were promoted from Division 2 as runners-up last year and will take heart from a fine performance at the Men's World Team Championship in New Zealand last December where they exceeded their seeding to finish 17th. No.1 Sam Buckley won a third Irish national title in February while Oisin Logan has also picked up some notable recent results.

Key player:Sam Buckley
Young gun: Gavin L'Estrange
Full squad
Coach: Eoin Ryan



A French squad packed with know-how seems to have a great chance of going toe-to-toe with England and reclaiming the title they last won in 2017. The three-time former champions will be spearheaded by world no.11 and reigning European individual champion Victor Crouin, backed up by the wisdom of veterans Gregoire Marche and Baptiste Masotti, with Sebastian Bonmalais and Auguste Dussourd both in their prime. They may take encouragement from the junior team beating England at the recent European Team Under-19 Championships!

Key player: Victor Crouin
Young gun:Toufik Mekhalfi
Full squad
Coach: Thierry Lincou


Switzerland clinched hugely impressive joint bronze medals at last December's WSF World Team Championships and also finished third at last year's European Teams Championships in Helsinki. They may well fancy causing a few more upsets in Uster! The Swiss will be led by their 34-year-old talisman Nicholas Mueller, ably assisted by Dmitri Steinmann, Yannick Wilhelmi and David Bernet, who finished a stellar career on the ESF junior circuit earlier this year by finishing third in the British Junior Open. 

Key player: Nicholas Muller
Young gun: David Bernet
Full squad
Coach: Pascal Bruhin


Germany have finished European Team runners-up three times - including in 1990 when the tournament was held in Zurich. They will have to spring many surprises to match that achievement again in Switzerland this year. The legendary former world no.3 Simon Rosner is coming out of retirement to lead the side, supported by 33-year-old Raphael Kandra. Finn Koch, 18, adds some youthful exuberance to the squad.

Key player: Raphael Kandra
Young gun: Finn Koch
Full squad
Coach: Oliver Pettke


Czech Republic were promoted back into the top tier last year after winning the Division 2 title without losing a single match. They will now want to achieve a best-ever finish of fifth or above (they finished sixth in Helsinki in 2017). The loss of legend Jan Koukal will be felt, but Daniel Mekbib has had a busy 2024 so far including a title at the Brno Open (his seventh on the PSA Tour), while Martin Svec is boosted by winning the recent PSA World Championship qualifying event in Nantes. Martin Stepan has been achieving notable results on the ESF junior circuit including victory in the Swiss Junior Open.

Key player: Martin Svec
Young gun: Martin Stepan
Full squad
Coach: Ondrej Uherka

« Back