After a surprising 3-2 win over France on Monday, Bulgaria stays on track with a quickly 3-0 (25:19, 25:16, 25:15) over Netherlands, to register their second victory at the continental Olympic qualifier in Berlin. So, Bulgaria take the lead in the current Pool B standings with 5 points.
Dutch opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz was the top scorer of the match with 15 points, while his counterpart Tsvetan Sokolov scored 13 for the winners.
Today’s victory means that the team coached by Italian expert Silvano Prandi don’t need to beat Serbia in the last round to qualify for the semifinals, but only to take 2 sets against them…
Silvano Prandi, Head Coach of Bulgaria: “This game was an easy game because we played good volleyball. And normally in volleyball when one team plays a good level the other team is in difficulty. And today Holland was in difficulty but I think deserved for us.”
Nimir Abdel-Aziz, Captain of The Netherlands: “Bad. We played bad. Yesterday we played bad. Today we played bad. We are not good enough right now and we don’t go to the Olympics, that’s it. Right now I don’t even want to think about the match of tomorrow. First we will think a little bit about this match like the next hour then we set our mind for tomorrow. But to be honest, our tournament is finished, but of course we want to show a normal level tomorrow because now in two matches we didn’t show our game.”
By losing to Belgium in five sets, Czech Republic lost all chances of going into the semifinals and, subsequently, to the Olympic Games. Actually, both teams said goodbye to the Tokyo event.
Jakub Janouch, Czech Republic Captain: “The image of the game was more or less the same like yesterday even if we did win two sets but we were not able to finish the second one we were winning four/five points difference and you could see how we finished the fifth one. We had some chances but we didn’t take it. Of course we have a young team and all of this, but today I am maybe more disappointed than yesterday. On this tournament every match is hard, every opponent. We have to improve our skills, our whole things to bring on the court, to take some risk in the good moment, to be patient in some moments, to fight the way how to play because these young players, sometimes they don’t know at these moments. In this case maybe we can apologize them but sometimes we have to be also critical.”
Dominique Baeyens, Belgium Head Coach: “I am happy for today. I’m not happy with the tournament of course. But today yes because indeed, I started with some new players. We talked with the players last evening and some are injured, like they were already all the tournament so we didn’t any risks in this case. Others they told me that they were really tired, then I said okay maybe it’s in our game to play with other players, with younger players. Maybe they have to show now what they can do with the future with the Belgian national team. And I think it was quite good. The last set was incredible. I mean we were leading all the time… And then in one rotation we couldn’t score, it was crazy. They were leading 13-11 and then in the end, okay, we win…. It was really insane.”
The Slovenia National Team prevailed in a marathon match of Pool A against the hosts Germany and advanced to the semifinals (32:34, 25:20, 19:25, 25:21, 15:12).
With this victory in 138 minutes of play, Slovenia have avoided deciding on their appearance in the semifinals on the last day of the pool stage, tomorrow, against the Czech Republic. Instead of that, in case of defeating the Czech Republic, they will have the chance to top Pool A and play No.2 from Pool B in the semis. Today, Germany played without the help of their main star György Grozer: the head coach Andrea Giani didn’t want to take any risks and left the starting opposite hitter out of the field because of the right calf injury which he sustained yesterday in the match against Belgium in which Germany have secured a spot in the semifinals. Klemen Čebulj scored 25 points for Slovenia, including 4 aces. Grozer’s replacement in the line-up, Simon Hirsch, scored 18 points and was the top scorer for Germany.
Lukas Kampa, Captain of Germany: “Of course it was our goal to win but it was still a good performance from us. It was really hard work to reach the semis here and that´s the most important fact. So it is not important to finish it on the first place because of the do or die games in front of us. If you want to get the ticket you have to beat all teams and we made just the first step. We will use Wednesday to have a little rest to be in a good shape on Thursday.”
Alberto Giuliani, Coach of Slovenia: “About this match I save the results, because it’s important qualify for the semi-finals, but I don’t like the play. We played very bad. We played without concentration. We played without attitude. I don’t like this. I think it’s difficult to play all the matches in the same level, because we got to stay together for a long time. I think this is the problem.”
2019 European Volleyball Olympic Qualifier, pool stage – Round 3:
Bulgaria-Netherlands 3-0 (25:19, 25:16, 25:15)
Belgium – Czech Republic 3-2 (21:25, 28:26, 25:20, 22:25, 19:17)
Germany – Slovenia 2-3 (34:32, 20:25, 25:19, 21:25, 12:15)