The match between France and Poland is a clash between two very strong teams equipped with top-quality players that many expected to see in tomorrow’s final. However, in volleyball nothing is predictable, and after losing their respective semifinals against Serbia and Slovenia respectively, France and Poland will have to battle it out in the third place match.
France and Poland have met 12 times in EuroVolley tournaments, in which Poland have won nine, France three. This is a rematch of the 2009 EuroVolley final, won 3-1 by Poland in Izmir, Turkey. France won their most recent EuroVolley match against Poland, 3-1 in the group phase in 2013 and this year, Poland and France have met twice: France won 3-1 in the Volleyball Nations League, while Poland won 3-0 during the Olympic Qualification Tournament last August.
In this competition France, after winning each of their first seven EuroVolley matches in 2019, including six in straight sets, France were beaten at tie break by Serbia in their semi-final. Stephen Boyer has equalled Nimir Abdel-Aziz as top scorer at EuroVolley 2019: both players have scored 152 points in the tournament until this moment!
After winning each of their first seven EuroVolley matches in 2019, including six in a row in straight sets, Poland were beaten 3-1 by Slovenia in their semi-final in Ljubljana. Now they can win their first EuroVolley medal since 2011, when they claimed bronze, beating Russia 3-1 in the bronze-medal match.
And as regarding the big final of the CEV Volleyball European Championship 2019? Serbia and Slovenia, that showed the most consistency during the elimination matches have well deserved their spots in the gold medal match in Paris. Both of them beat the odds in the semifinals, Serbia’s against hosts France, and Slovenia against world champions Poland, to take a really unpredictable final.
After playing in the 2015 final, co-hosts Slovenia are writing their second story at EuroVolley. They were not as brilliant as the rivals of Serbia during the pool stage of the tournament, but when it mattered the most, in the elimination rounds, they were impeccable with three four-set victories: over Bulgaria in the eightfinals, over defending European champions Russia in the quarterfinals and over reigning world champions Poland in the semifinals.
Serbia and Slovenia will meet for the third time in EuroVolley, after group stage matches in 2011 and 2013. Serbia won the first one, 3-1 on 11 September 2011, while Slovenia won in the most recent one, 3-1 on 20 September 2013. The two team also met in the European Olympic Qualification tournament in May 2012, when Serbia won 3-1 again.
Serbia are hoping to claim their third EuroVolley title, after 2001 (as Yugoslavia) and 2011. In both years, Serbia beat Italy in the final. In addition, they may become the first country to hold both European titles – men and women – since Russia achieved the feat in 2013. Serbia previously claimed top honours from both competitions in 2011. Serbia finished on the podium in nine of the last 12 EuroVolley championships – winners (2), runners-up (1), third place (6) and they have won all of their eight matches at EuroVolley 2019. Atanasijevic is now Serbia’s top scorer in the tournament on 121 points, 8 more than Uros Kovacevic (113).
Slovenia have reached the EuroVolley final for the second time, after 2015, in which they lost the final in straight sets against France in Sofia, Bulgaria. That was also Slovenia’s only medal in seven previous EuroVolley tournament appearances. Tine Urnaut, with 105 points, is the only player to score more than 100 points for Slovenia in the competition. He was also their top scorer in the semi-final win over Poland on 18 points.
And what is your prediction? 🙂
Source: CEV. Photos: randomvolley, CEV.