Despite the absence of captain Petrić, who left tournament, Serbia books playoff ticket.
Even though it could not count on its captain, who returned to Belgrade to heal the injury but will return for the knockout phase, Serbia recorded the third win in four games in Pool A of Kraków, Poland, and verified the placement in the eighth-finals.
However beating Portugal today was not easy for the defending champions.
The absence of Petrić for justified reasons was followed by absences of several more starters, Atanasijević, Kovačević, Jovović, and Lisinac, for most of the match as the head coach Slobodan Kovač decided to rest them. Dražen Luburić with 18 points was the top scorer for Serbia in a 3-1 victory (25:15, 25:21, 22:25, 25:17), while Lourenço Martins tallied 15 for Portugal.
Vuk Todorovic, setter of Serbia: “Today, we – players who didn’t play so far – got an opportunity to enter the court. It was this kind of the match when we could try different solutions and to give all players a chance. We lost the third set, but then we returned to the court motivated and gave our best. It’s an important win for us, because with this victory we sealed our spot in the next round. There is one more game ahead of us against Greece and we expect another win. ”
Miguel Tavares, setter of Portugal: “We played against the defending European champions, so everything we managed to do is a bonus. We just enjoy the opportunity to play at this level against one of the best teams in the world – it’s amazing for us. We need more opportunities like this to keep growing and improving the level of our team. When we spike in Portugal we usually score, but with their block and so big players, we have to find different solutions.”
Thus Poland is the only unbeaten team in Pool A, and in the last match of the day they defeated Belgium, now woth a score of 1W-2L, in straight sets (25:18, 26:24, 25:16). Łukasz Kaczmarek was the top scorer among the winners with 15 points, 7 only in first set, while and Hendrik Tuerlinckx made 16 for Belgium.
Łukasz Kaczmarek, opposite of Poland: “I’m the most happy about our straight-set victory, because we are getting closer to complete this phase as a pool winner. The team is the most important for me, but obviously I’m glad about my performance as well. I felt great on the court, but this win is the most important. The atmosphere here is amazing, it’s great to play again in front of our fans.”
Liam McCluskey, setter of Belgium: “Today we played a very good game and Poland is Poland – they are the world champions and you can see it on the court. We tried to play our best volleyball, but it was not enough.”
POOL A STANDINGS – updated on this day
🇵🇱| Poland 11
🇷🇸| Serbia 10
🇺🇦| Ukraine 4
🇧🇪| Belgium 4
🇵🇹| Portugal 3
🇬🇷| Greece 1
In what was the first match of the day, Italy hit its third three-point worth success at the competition to continue to lead the ranking of Pool B, taking place in Ostrava, the Czech Republic, with nine points and a 9-1 set ratio.
If the victories against Belarus and Montenegro did not give the right perspective of how far the reconstructed Italian squad can go in the tournament, today’s match against Bulgaria was the right test which the side of Ferdinando De Giorgi passed with high grades: 3-1 is the final result, partially 25:19, 25:18, 17:25 and 25:12.
And the victory gave the guarantee to Italy of entering the Round of 16. The 19-year-old prospect Alessandro Michieletto led the quartet of double-digit scorers on the winning side with 14 points, while Tsvetan Sokolov was the top scorer for Bulgaria with 15 points.
Tsvetan Sokolov, opposite of Bulgaria: “This game didn’t go well for us. You can clearly see if we play like in the third set, we can win everything. But after that our performance got worse. We must believe in ourselves even when we play against Italy. They have young team and play uninhibited. That is the way we want to play, so now it is important to forget the defeat and get ready for the next match.”
Simone Anzani, middle blocker of Italy: “This game was very tough, our opponent was tough but we were very good. During the third part of the game Bulgarians served really well and also we lost some easy points. In the fourth set we came angry and focused. That was very important for us because we must increase our level match by match.”
On the same Pool all easy for Slovenia, who defeat Belarus in a clear 3-0 (25:20, 25:20, 25:15). Klemen Cebulj leading scorer for the winners with 12 points on 7/13 attack, while Jan Kozamernik made 4 winning blocks.
POOL B STANDINGS – updated on this day
🇮🇹| Italy 9
🇧🇬| Bulgaria 5
🇸🇮| Slovenia 6
🇨🇿| Czech Republic 4
🇧🇾| Belarus 3
🇲🇪| Montenegro 0
Both Macedonia and Spain were looking for their first win in Pool C in Tampere, Finland, but it was Spain that cruises in 3-1 victory as they find their attacking in decisive moments of game. Partially it was 23:25, 25:21, 28:30 and 15:25.
Andrés Villena was the top scorer of the match with 26 points, while middle blocker Borja Ruiz also contributed with 17 points, and both scored 6 blocks each of their team’s 13. Nikola Georgiev with 26 points was the top scorer on tue other side of the net but he wasn’t enough.
“We are very happy with the performance as well as with the result, even though this victory does not change much when it comes to our chances to progress to the next round of the competition. Still, this victory is important for our morale. We were a bit more stable and made fewer mistakes than we made in the previous matches, especially towards the end of the sets – and this is what made the difference, combined with more quality in our service and block,” said Andrés Jesus Villena, Opposite and top scorer of Spain.
On the same Pool, Turkey’s invincibility breaks down by Abdel-Aziz’s raids. The Netherlands achieved a 3-1 (22:25, 27:25, 27:25, 25:23) victory over Turkey (with a 3-0 score prior to the game). Duels between these two teams have often been long and exciting in recent years and today’s game was no an exception. The team commanded by italian expert Roberto Piazza made an amazing turnaround in the fourth set after it trailed 6-12, thus avoiding playing the tie-break.
The Netherlands triumphed mostly thanks to Nimir Abdel-Aziz, who put down 34 points, including four aces, while Fabian Plak had a 77% attack (10/13).
Baturalp Burak Güngör (four aces) and Adis Lagumdžija scored 20 points each on the other side of the net, while Vahit Emre Savaş made 77% attack (10/13).
Both teams secured a place in the playoffs, but now the Dutch side has more chances of topping the pool charts (both are at 3-1) with one point more than Turkey (10-9).
“It was a big fight – from start to end – but we knew we could expect such a tough match, especially after watching the performance that Turkey had delivered in their previous matches. This victory is extremely important towards the final standing in this pool. I think we were extremely focussed and concentrated after the score reached the 20-point mark – and the players who came in from the bench did perform very well, so they deserve some credit too,” said Nimir Abdel-Aziz.
POOL C STANDINGS – updated on this day
🇳🇱| The Netherlands 10
🇹🇷| Turkey 9
🇫🇮| Finland 6
🇷🇺| Russia 5
🇪🇸| Spain 3
🇲🇰| North Macedonia 0
Slovakia claimed their first victory at EuroVolleyM 2021, after a five-set battle against Latvia.
This outcome means that all teams of Pool D are still in the running for qualifying to the next stage of the tournament! If two very favourites France and Germany can feel comfortable at the top, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia and Slovakia will fight for a playoffs’ spot in the upcoming days.
Hermans Egleskalns in Latvia’s jersey was the top scorer of the match with 21 points, while Matej Patak made 19 for the winners.
Tomas Krisko, Spiker of Slovakia: “The game had a lot of ups and downs but in the fourth set, we finally found our rhythm. This is a very precious victory for us as Latvia is one of our main opponents for qualifying to the playoffs. The situation is very interesting in our pool right now and our focus is set on the upcoming match with Croatia.”
Toms Svans, Captain of Latvia: “We knew it would be a tough match and I think we were ready, but today we missed stability. In the last set, Slovakia did a good job on the block. I don´t know what the chances to advance ahead are now. Yes, we have some points but now we have to see how the other teams will perform.”
On the same Pool, Germany’s backups fall to France.
The French team won its third EuroVolley 2021 match by beating the rivals in the big match by 3-1 (31:29, 15:25, 25:22, 25;22). The Olympic champions thus got an upper hand in their aspirations to finish as the pool leaders. Just like its rival, Germany set off its campaign with 2-0. Surprisingly, its head coach Andrea Giani confronted France with the lineup consisted entirely of backups. The trio of his main attacking weapons, Fromm, Kaliberda, and Grozer, did not play a single minute. Moreover the last one, the main star of the team, was even registered as a libero for the game (!!!). The players coached by Bernardo Rezende were led by Earvin Ngapeth, who finished the match with 21 points, while Théo Faure served four aces, and Nicolas Le Goff made four blocks. Germany’s Linus Weber was the top scorer of the match with 27 points. He and Moritz Karlitzek served four aces each.
Linus Weber, Spiker of Germany: “It was the head coach’s decision to start with different players today as the level has been very equal between players during preparation. Today, it was such an honor to play against the Olympic champions on this level, for me it was incredible.”
Jean Patry, Opposite of France: “It was the first game between two teams with the same level and it was a good fight. Germany played with their second team but they are also on a good level and we were mentally ready to play against Germany without Grozer and Fromm. We are a bit tired, so it was a little difficult, but we are happy we won 3-1 against a great team.”
POOL D STANDINGS – updated on this day
🇫🇷| France 9
🇩🇪| Germany 6
🇱🇻| Latvia 5
🇸🇰| Slovakia 3
🇪🇪| Estonia 2
🇭🇷| Croatia 2
| CEV EuroVolley 2021 | Day 6 | September 6, 2021
| POOL A 📍 Kraków (POL)
Portugal – Serbia 1-3 (15:25, 21:25, 25:22, 17:25)
Poland – Belgium 3-0 (25:18, 26:24, 25:16)
| POOL B 📍 Ostrava (CZE)
Bulgaria – Italy 1-3 (19:25, 18:25, 25:17, 12:25)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH
Slovenia – Belarus 3-0 (25:20, 25:20, 25:15)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH
| POOL C 📍 Tampere (FIN)
North Macedonia – Spain 1-3 (23:25, 25:21, 30:28, 15:25)
Turkey – The Netherlands 1-3 (25:22, 25:27, 25:27, 23:25)
| POOL D 📍 Tallin (EST)
Latvia – Slovakia 2-3 (18:25, 25:23, 25:13, 19:25, 7:15)
Germany – France 1-3 (29:31, 25:15, 22:25, 22:25)
| September 5, 2021
| POOL B 📍 Ostrava (CZE)
| September 7, 2021