In the opener of the 2021 CEV Men’s Volleyball European Championship started today, September 1, Latvia prevailed over Estonia in the clash of the two Baltic nations for a historic win in front of 3000 spectators, including the president of the Republic of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid and CEV President Aleksandar Boričić.
Latvia National Team won its first-ever match in the history of the competition against Pool D host Estonia by 3-1 (25:20, 25:15, 24:26, 25:22). This is only the second time that Latvia managed to qualify for the continental championship. The first time, in 1995, it lost all matches in the group stage and got eliminated. Moreover, Latvia beat Estonia for the first time in eight years!
Hermans Egleskalns top-scored the winning side with 21 points, while Deniss Petrovs set up four blocks. Oliver Venno put down the same number of points as Egleskalns, but on the other side of the net, and Ardo Kreek served five aces.
Aleksandar Boričić, CEV President: “I would like to thank Estonian Federation and all the organisers for the great job done. We hope the spectators are satisfied. It is important that the players have positive energy and can make the best performance ever. Good luck and keep healthy and always support volleyball!”
Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia: “We have this kind of tournament here for the first time! In these days – when you have a cold, watch the matches on tv, but when healthy – be in the hall! Because this is our city, these are our boys and now it’s your time!”
Robert Täht, Estonia spiker: “Today we were bad at every element. It is hard to move on from here, but we really need a win against Slovakia. We are playing at European Championships and we need to show a lot of character moving forward”
Deniss Petrovs, Latvia setter: “It was a tough game, we didn’t know what to expect from the Estonian team. Our goal was to keep the serve and keep them far from the net and today it worked great. We have been waiting for this win for a long time and we finally reached it. It is always a pleasure to play in front of Estonian fans, and today the atmosphere was again really amazing”
At home in Tampere and in front of some 2,400 fans at Hakametsä Arena, Finland has started its EuroVolley 2021 campaign with a 3-1 (25:20, 25:15, 24:26, 25:22) victory over North Macedonia in Pool C, in a repeat of another such match played two years ago, which had finished with the very same result. Actually, Finland had an opportunity to finish the match in straight sets, but they failed to capitalise on a match ball at the end of the third set.
An experienced Urpo Sivula was the man of the match among the winners with 25 points, Sauli Sinkkonen made five blocks, while Antti Ronkainen served four aces. Nikola Gjorgiev tallied 19 points on the losing side, while Risto Nikolov made four blocks.
Urpo Sivula, Opposite of Finland: “We did not play such a match for a long time, since the pandemic resulted in the cancellation of all competitions and earlier this summer we only had 3 friendly matches. This is obviously a good start to a competition on home soil. We feel the energy of this crowd and have very good memories from this arena – where we played many matches and achieved much success in the World League a few years ago. We want to win as many matches as possible but enjoy the experience – just one game at a time.”
| CEV EuroVolley 2021 | Day 1 | September 1, 2021
| POOL C 📍 Tampere (FIN)
Finland – North Macedonia 3-1 (25:20, 25:15, 24:26, 25:22)
| POOL D 📍 Tallin (EST)
Estonia – Latvia 1-3 (23:25, 22:25, 25:16, 21:25)
| September 2, 2021
Source and photos: CEV