By Luis Cristovao
|Defending champions Spain feature a fully renewed team in Miskolc, as no player of last year's squad is returning.|
Group D seems to be the hardest in paper, as it features reigning champions Spain, last year's bronze medalists Italy, 2011 Division B champions Germany and the Netherlands. Any one of these teams could be identified as favourites to go far in the tournament, but one will have to stay out of the title fight.
Spain coach Evaristo Perez presents a completely revamped roster to try to retain the title. Small forward Laia Flores, forward Laura Quevedo and center Carla Romeu are players to watch, as the Spanish side attempt to follow in the footsteps of previous generations and win the eighth title overall in this age category.
Italy, who claimed the bronze medal in front of their home crowd in 2011, will be led by forward Cecilia Zandalasini, who figured in last year's All Tournament Team. Along with point guard Martina Kacerik and some young talent, the Italian team aim to find themselves among the top seeded again.
The Netherlands, hosts of the U17 World Championship in August, hope to boost their confidence in Miskolc. Most of the players present here are likely in both tournaments. Among them, point guard Laura Cornelius and center Emese Hof present themselves as the more experienced players, which could provide them a place among the eight best teams in this U16 European Championship Women.
Although the competition in Group D is fierce, Germany are ready to spring a surprise in Miskolc. The team can count on point guard Emma Stach, who was part of last year's Division B All Tournament Team and now is eager to compete against the best players in Division A. She is helped, amongst others, by fellow guard Nele Aha, another 2011 Division B champion who returns to the team.