#RoadToTokyo: France dominate European champions Serbia, Slovenia and Germany ok4 min read
The France National Team started the 2019 European Volleyball Olympic Qualifier in Berlin – Germany in a really perfect way: they beat European champion Serbia in straight sets at the opening match (25:21, 25:21, 25:22).
With the exception of the 2nd set when they trailed by 5 points, the team coached by Laurent Tillie didn’t tremble a bit against the continental champions, taking revenge on them for losing the semifinal of the last EuroVolley at home in Paris. A convincing victory of France in Pool B was marked with a very good performance of the opposite hitter Jean Patry (22 points including 1 ace and 1 block and 65% efficiency) who took a place in the line-up due to an absence of Stéphen Boyer. Nemanja Petrić had 14 points for Serbia which he made through a high percentage of an attack (72%, 13/18).
Jean Patry, France’s opposite: “We started this competition with an important victory, and this is very important for us. We had some difficulties with the preparation, but we are very happy with such a start. We need to continue, we have nothing to lose on this competition and I think we’ll show on the court our value“.
Nemanja Petric, Serbia’s outside hitter: “For sure that was not the result what we wanted, what we expected. But France today was better, we can’t say anything different. I don’t think that the pressure of a European Champion was the problem. The problem was how we played on the court. We are experienced players and we know it’s a lot of pressure in the game. We must play better.”
He also added: “For sure. Now we need to win all the games if we don’t want to go out. We will think about what we did wrong today and change these things. We need to put a little bit more energy in and that’s it.”
Slovenia beat Belgium by a 3-0 (25:23, 28:26, 25:20) but only after taking the first 2 sets in overtime. The 2nd set had in a quite unusual ending. A decision regarding one of the set points was reversed twice by video challenges that followed one another. Three starters from team from Belgium suffered injuries: Hendrik Tuerlinckx, Arno Van de Velde, and Pieter Verhees. The last 2 managed to recover on time to play. Opposite Tonček Stern with 20 points was the author of a great performance together with his team captain and best receiver Tine Urnaut (71 % positive), while Jolan Cox scored 19 points for the losing side.
Tine Urnaut, Slovenian captain: “I think it was a tough match. We still have to be more constant in side-out but did a great job serving and defending as well as creating a possibility destroying their attacks. We went two, three points in front in the first two sets but we let the opponent to come back. In the third set we did a good job we continue to play aggressive and it was a very important win for us. It will be a very tough game against Germany, our next opponent; they have a really good team. We will do our best to play the best volleyball we can and win.”
Dominique Baeyens, Belgium coach: “It was obviously not the result we were hoping for. We knew before the start that we have to play on a high level to compete with these teams, but it wasn’t enough today. We still had the chance to win the first and second time as we were in front but couldn’t close the set. Just small things made the difference which is very annoying. We now have to win every game to stay in the tournament. Of course it will be really hard but we are difficult to play and will not give up until l the end.”
Close the picture the victory for the hosting teams Germany in front of more than 4.000 spectators.
They won against the Czech Republic in straight sets (25:19, 25:22, 25:20). György Grozer has shown his recognizable class by putting down 21 points for Germany but also by single-handedly created a comeback of the hosts in a very hard 2nd set. The opposite stepped into the service line at a 5-point deficit (22:17) of his team and started to send real bombs from which the Czechs couldn’t recover. Grozer finished the match with 8 aces! Lukáš Vašina and Patrik Indra scored 13 points each for Czech Republic.
2019 European Volleyball Olympic Qualifier, pool stage – Round 1:
Slovenia – Belgium 3-0 (25:23, 28:26, 25:20)
Czech Republic – Germany 0-3 (19:25, 22:25, 20:25)
France – Serbia 3-0 (25:21, 25:21, 25:22)
Source: CEV. Photos: volleytimes