The Russian boys will try to retain the trophy at the EuroVolley 2019. However, the number 1 favorites at this EuroVolley, that will feature a new competition format with 24 teams, are definitely Poland.
You are probably wondering why? According to some, It’s enough to mention just one name: Wilfredo Leon. He has strengthened Vital Heynen’s team, which already have the world star players in the roster. That’s why the current World Champions are probably the favorites for taking the gold medal.
Russia, France, Italy and Serbia are right behind the Polish team. We are expecting great clashes at the upcoming tournament.
These two national teams will make debuts at the European Championship: North Macedonia and Montenegro.
Day 1, Thursday, 12 September:
POOL A— Bulgaria – Greece 14:15 CET
POOL C— Turkey – Russia 14:30 CET
POOL A— Portugal – Italy 17:15 CET
POOL C— Finland – North Macedonia 17:30 CET
POOL C— Slovenia – Belarus 20:30 CET
POOL A— France – Romania 20:45 CET
Day 2, Friday 13 September:
POOL D— Czech Republic – Ukraine 14:00 CET
POOL B— Serbia – Germany 15:00 CET
POOL D— Estonia – Poland 17:00 CET
POOL A— Bulgaria – Romania 17:15 CET
POOL C— North Macedonia – Turkey 17:30 CET
POOL B— Slovakia – Spain 17:30 CET
POOL D— Netherlands – Montenegro 20:00 CET
POOL C— Belarus – Russia 20:30 CET
POOL B— Belgium – Austria 20:30 CET
POOL A— Italy – Greece 20:45 CET
Three Volleyball powerhouses such as France, Italy and Bulgaria feature prominently in the CEV EuroVolley 2019 Pool A. France and Italy have a historical sporting rivalry that goes well beyond Volleyball, while Bulgaria have been a force to reckon with in the sport for many decades. Greece, Portugal and Romania return to the EuroVolley stage after a long break: Romania last featured at EuroVolley in 1995, while Greece and Portugal in 2009 and 2011, respectively.
Italy have won the European title six times – for the first time in 1989 and most recently in 2005. They finished fifth in 2017. The same team qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after winning against Serbia, Australia and Cameroon in their qualifying tournament on home soil in August.
France won their only European championship in 2015. They finished ninth in 2017. France have won 99 matches at the European Championship. They can become the fifth team to reach 100 wins after Russia (173, incl. Soviet Union), Italy (129), Bulgaria (114), Serbia (106, incl. Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro) and Poland (104). France have a positive record against Italy at EuroVolley (10-7), a 7-7 record against Bulgaria, 2-2 against Greece, 1-8 against Romania and won their only match against Portugal.
No team has won more medals at the European Championship without having won gold than Bulgaria. They claimed their last medal, a bronze in 2009. Bulgaria finished sixth in 2017. At European Championships, Bulgaria have a positive record against Portugal (1-0), but not against the other opponents in Pool A: France 7-7, Italy 4-9, Romania 4-6, Greece 1-3.
This is Portugal’s fifth appearance at the European Championship after 1948 (4th), 1951 (7th), 2005 (10th) and 2011 (14th). Portugal have faced Italy, Bulgaria and France at European Championships and they won only one of the five total matches against these teams, a 3-2 victory against Italy in 1951.
Romania will make their 17th appearance at the European Championship and the first since 1995 (12th). They won the tournament in 1963 and claimed two silver and two bronze medals in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
This is the 15th European Championship for Greece and the first since 2009 (8th). They finished third in 1987. Greece have never won a match against Italy (0-17) at the European Championship or at any other major level competition.
As many as three of the top four teams from the last edition of EuroVolley, silver medallists Germany, bronze medal winners Serbia and fourth-placed Belgium, feature in a highly competitive Pool B, with matches due to take place in Brussels and Antwerp. The group includes also Slovakia and Spain as well, two teams that have previously performed well at EuroVolley, with Spain boasting a historic gold medal from the 2007 edition, as well as Austria, who back in January qualified for the final stage of the competition for the first time in their history without hosting it.
Serbia finished on the podium in nine of the last 12 European Championships: two first, one second and six third places. They can become the fourth country to win at least three European titles, after Russia (14, 12 as Soviet Union, 2 as Russia), Italy (6) and Czech Republic (3 as Czechoslovakia).
Spain finished in ninth (2009) and 16th place (2017) in their two participations after winning the European title in 2007.
Germany finished runners-up to Russia at the 2017 European Championship, their only podium finish in the competition. At the European Championship, Germany have a winning record against Spain (W5-L1), Austria (W5-L1), Belgium (W4-L2) and Slovakia (W4-L2). They have a losing record against Serbia (W4-L5), even if they defeated Serbia 3-2 in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
Belgium finished in fourth place at the 2017 European Championship, their best result in the competition in 15 participations. In 2007, they returned to the European Championship, after an absence of 20 years. They have since participated in five of the six editions, only missing out in 2009. Since returning to the competition in 2007, Belgium lost all of their matches against the other teams in Pool B, twice against Serbia and once against Germany. Belgium’s last victory over one of their Pool B opponents came in the 1987 tournament: straight-set wins against Spain and Yugoslavia.
Austria competed at the European Championship from 1955 to 1971 and in 1999 and 2011 as organisers. Their best result was an eight-place finish in 1999. Austria’s only European Championship victory against one of their Pool B opponents came against West Germany in 1958 (3-1).
Slovakia participated in nine European Championships, all in the last 11 editions. Their best result in the competition is a fifth place in 2011. Slovakia have recorded two victories against the other teams in Pool B at the European Championships, both against Germany (1997, 2011).
Russia are, of course, the favourites in Pool C of the history-making CEV EuroVolley 2019, with matches starting as early as on today in Ljubljana. This is where co-hosts Slovenia will be trying to deliver a terrific show as they enjoy the very first opportunity to contest such a prestigious competition on home soil. The Pool features the 2019 European League gold medallists of Turkey, EuroVolley rookies North Macedonia, as well as the teams of Belarus and Finland, who have been a regular feature at EuroVolley since claiming a historic fourth place in 2007 in Moscow.
Title-holders Russia can win back-to-back European Championships for the first time since the Soviet Union won nine in a row from 1967 to 1987. Russia (incl. Soviet Union) have won a record 14 European trophies and a record 22 medals in total. They have won 15 of their last 16 matches at the European Championships, including the finals in 2013 and 2017. Their only defeat in this run was a 3-0 loss against Italy in the quarterfinals in 2015. Sammelvuo’s team will face Belarus and North Macedonia for the first time at the European Championship. They have a W7-L0 record against Finland, W3-L0 versus Slovenia and W2-L0 against Turkey.
Slovenia will compete in their eighth European Championship. They were runners-up in 2015 and finished eighth in 2017. They have won two and lost five of their seven matches at European Championships against their opponents in Pool C. Their wins were 3-2 against Turkey in 2011 and 3-0 against Belarus in 2015. They lost against Russia in 2001 and twice in 2017, and versus Finland (2011, 2013).
Belarus will make their third appearance at the European Championship after 2013 (15th) and 2015 (16th).They have yet to claim their first win at the European Championship after three defeats in 2013 and another three losses in 2015. They lost the final of the 2019 European Golden League against Turkey (3-0).
This is the 18th appearance for Finland at the European Championship and the seventh in a row. They finished 12th in 2015 and 2017. Their best result was a fourth place in 2007.
North Macedonia will make their debut at the European Championship. Prior to this year, Estonia were the last team to make its debut in 2009 (14th).
Turkey make their 10th appearance at the European Championship. Their best result was finishing in 11th place in 1963, 2011 and 2017. They have W2-L15 record in matches at the European Championship since they made their return to the competition in 2007. Their victories were against Austria (3-0 in 2011) and against Netherlands (3-1 in 2017). Turkey won the final of the European Golden League against Belarus (3-0) in 2019.
Reigning World champions Poland and hosts of the Netherlands are favorites the CEV EuroVolley 2019 Pool D, with matches due to take place in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The organisers expect some 10,000 fans at Ahoy Rotterdam on Sunday, September 15 for the big match between the White-and-Reds and the local Lange Mannen. The teams of Czech Republic, Estonia, Ukraine and Montenegro will be trying to upset their more decorated opponents in an effort to secure a spot in the 8th Finals. Montenegro make their historic maiden appearance at EuroVolley since the Balkan country achieved independence in 2006. Czech Republic, Netherlands and Poland have all previously won the European Championship. Czech Republic won in 1948, 1955 and 1958 (all as Czechoslovakia), Netherlands won in 1997 and Poland won in 2009.
Two-time reigning world champions Poland have claimed eight podium finishes at the European Championship this far: one gold, five silvers and 2 bronzes. After winning the European title in 2009, Poland finished in third (2011), ninth (2013), fifth (2015) and 10th place (2017). They won their last meetings with Estonia (2017), Czech Republic (2011), Ukraine (2005) and Netherlands (2003) at the European Championship, and they do not have a losing record at the European Championship against any of their Pool D opponents.
The Netherlands won the European title (1997) a year after claiming the Olympic gold medal in 1996. They have claimed five podium finishes at the European Championship, in consecutive editions from 1989 to 1997 – one first, two second and two third places. The Netherlands won their last European Championship matches against Czech Republic (2015), Estonia (2009) and Ukraine (1997), but lost their last encounter with Poland (2003).
Apart from their three wins, Czech Republic also finished on the podium in 1950, 1967, 1971 and 1985 (all runners-up as Czechoslovakia). Czech Republic’s best result at the European Championship since its independence in 1993 is a fourth place in both 1999 and 2001. At the European Championship, Czech Republic’s records against their Pool D opponents are: W6-L6 against Netherlands, W6-L9 against Poland, W1-L0 against Estonia and W0-L2 against Ukraine.
Ukraine participate for the fifth time at the European Championship, and for the first time since 2005. Their best result is a sixth place in 1993. They are on a five-match losing run at the European Championship, since a 3-0 win over Slovakia in 1997.
Estonia have competed in four European Championships, all in the last five editions. They have never finished higher than 11th (in 2015). They lost their previous three European Championship matches against their Pool D opponents: 3-1 versus the Netherlands in 2009, 3-0 against Czech Republic in 2011 and 3-0 to Poland in 2017.
Montenegro make their debut at the European Championship. The last country to win their first-ever match in the competition was Slovakia in 1997.
Source and photos: cev.eu