Turkey won the gold medal in the 2019 CEV Volleyball European Golden League and a chance to fight for participating in the next year’s edition of the FIVB Nations League!
Turkey beat Belarus after a great match in the final in Tallinn, Estonia, to win the tournament for the first time in the history: 3-0 (25:16, 25:21, 25:19). So, Turkey crowned their incredible European League campaign in which they did not suffer a single defeat (8-0 record, the only unbeaten side in the tournament!) and dropped only three sets on their way to the title.
Adis Lagumdžija was the top scorer for the winners in the final with 16 points, while the Turkish setter Arslan Ekşi̇ was named MVP of the Final Four. Pavel Kuklinski scored 12 for Belarus.
Arslan Ekşi̇, captain of Turkey: “It’s amazing. In our history it is the first time that we win the CEV Golden League. I’m very happy to be with such brave players and staff. I’m very thankful for everyone. Today we showed a great performance in the final. We showed that we are the best team in the Golden League. We played eight matches and we won all of them. We deserve it. We are happy to go to Slovenia, for the Challenger Cup. It will be a more difficult tournament than here. Unexpectedly three players from our team have to go serve in the army. But we have very strong young players that will come there. We will try our best. I’m surprised to be chosen as the MVP as a setter. I know from just one time before the Brazilian setter Ricardo was named MVP. So I’m very happy to receive this present. It’s for the whole team. Thank you.”
Adis Lagumdzija, opposite of Turkey: “We are extremely happy, because this is the biggest accomplishment for Turkish men’s volleyball in their history. We were expecting a really difficult game against Belarus, but eventually the result was 3-0, so it was very surprising for us. We expected more pressure from Belarus, we will play against them also at the European Championship, so it was like a preparation ahead of September.”
Nedim Özbey, head coach of Turkey: “We believe in ourselves, we always aim to win and we came here to get the title. We came here with many young players, but they believe in their skills and they believed that it’s possible to win this tournament. Before the start of the Final Four I said that the semifinal against Estonia would be like a real final, because the most important thing was to win it. We expected Estonia to play much better. Belarus surprised everyone when they qualified to the Final Four, at the beginning of the European League no one could expected to see them here. They won a lot of matches, they have power, but today they didn’t show it.”
Both finalists will contest in the 2019 FIVB Challenger Cup in Slovenia (July 3-7) whose winners will play the 2020 FIVB Nations League.
In the bronze medal match, the Netherlands swept the Final Four hosts Estonia by a 3-0 (25:22, 25:16, 25:26).
Source and Photos: CEV