In their last match in Pool A in Krakow, Poland, defending champions Serbia defeats a so far winless Greece after a battle lasted five sets (25:23, 22:25, 25:16, 30:28, 15:5). A win would take Serbia to the top of the group, but with Poland still to play their last game it was not all in their control.
Thus Serbia completed pool phase with 4W-1L, while Greece is still winless one more game ahead.
Greek Athanasios Protopsaltis with 24 points (9 only in the fourth set!) was the top scorer of the match, while Pavle Peric made 14 for the winners, and Petar Krsmanović made 85% attack (11/13).
Aleksandar Atanasijevic, opposite of Serbia: “We know that if you want to win the match at EuroVolley you have to suffer. Even Poland lost one set in the match against Greece. Greece is a good team, they didn’t make too many mistakes. Maybe we were a bit too relaxed and for our opponents the next match is in or out, but now we have to think about the next four days how we can improve our game.”
Athanasios Protopsaltis, outside hitter of Greece: “It was a very hard battle against European champions, so for us it was the best opportunity to see if we are able to reach this level. It was very important for us that we won two sets and we got one point. This point brings us hope ahead of tomorrow’s match against Portugal.”
On the same Pool Ukraine defeats Belgium by 3-1 (25:27, 23:25, 25:18, 25:23) to earn their 3rd win and secured a spot in 8th finals. Oleh Plotnystkyi (7 poonts only in second set) and Dmytro Viietskyi led the winners with 22 points, while Sam Deroo poured in 19 on the other side of the net.
POOL A STANDINGS – updated on this day
🇷🇸| Serbia 12
🇵🇱| Poland 11
🇺🇦| Ukraine 7
🇧🇪| Belgium 4
🇵🇹| Portugal 3
🇬🇷| Greece 2
The Slovenia National Team has registered a new important victory at the Pool B in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
With a clear 3-0 (25:18, 25:19, 25:21), they beat Bulgaria and theoretically confirmed its advancement to the Round of 16 at the CEV EuroVolley 2021 with nine points and 3-1 score. At the same time, the team coached by italian expert Alberto Giuliani put Bulgaria in a position to fear not qualifying there. Klemen Čebulj top-scored the winning side with 15 points, including four aces, while Tine Urnaut had 74% (14/19) attack. Slovenians will play the last match of the group stage against Italy on Wednesday, which will be the fight for first place in the pool.
Tine Urnaut, Slovenian outside hitter: “We are very happy, these are important three points for us because Bulgaria is a very strong team. Our serve was really good today and that basically made the match easier. We completed many successful double and triple blocks and created great counterattacks.”
Tsvetan Sokolov, Bulgarian opposite: “Slovenians had an amazing serve today. They scored many aces and definitely tested our defence. Current volleyball – it is mainly about serve and good blocks. Those are the things we didn’t have today. Not ideal receive disabled any chances of attack and that is why we have lost. We have to look at the footage to see what we have to improve and then obviously make less mistakes.”
Pool hosts Czech Republic faced Montenegro in a key match in terms of promotion. After an outstanding first set from both sides, Czech players won in front of their fans in straight sets (30:28, 25:23, 25:10). Lukas Vasina was the top scorer with 17 points on 13/22 attacking.
Jiri Novak, Czech coach: “Ending of the first set was so important. We were good in attack however we need more points from defence. That is why we were fighting for every point, fortunately we won. Thanks to that we handle the pressure well apart from the ending of the second set. Montenegro played that extraordinary. We tried to interrupt the game as much as possible with time-outs and substitutions. Third set was one-sided. We patiently waited for our chance and that was the key factor. We would definitely welcome if it came earlier but there are even such matches.”
Vojin Cacic, Montenegro outside spiker: “I think that suffix of the first set was the moment which decided today’s game. We didn’t use our set point which was important. It is hard, this happened before. I mean we play good game but fail in the ending. It is bad when we need to finish the set and we don’t. Congratulations to the Czech players, they played very well and I wish them best of luck in the round of sixteen.”
POOL B STANDINGS – updated on this day
🇮🇹| Italy 9
🇸🇮| Slovenia 9
🇨🇿| Czech Republic 7
🇧🇬| Bulgaria 5
🇧🇾| Belarus 3
🇲🇪| Montenegro 0
In first match of the day in Tampere’s Pool C, Finland, the underdog Spain plays against the starless Russia who has played its best match at the tournament so far and ended the game with a four sets victory, partially 20:25, 25:20, 16:25 and 17:25.
Egor Kliuka, who is coping well with his new role of an opposite, was again the top scorer of the match with 27 points including 5 winning blocks, with good support from Dmitri Volkov, who added 16, 8 only in first set. Valentin Golubev made 74% reception (23 digs, 35% excellent), while Villena was the top scorer for Spain with 14 points.
Russia will be playing the playoffs, there is no doubt in that (it is currently third in Pool C), but it has not yet shown their best game.
“It was a special match for me, my first in the starting six in a long time – therefore I am happy with the opportunity and the way we worked together with my team. I have to congratulate Spain – as they succeeded in everything they did in the second set, before we came back and played strong in the third and fourth. It is difficult to play EuroVolley right after the Olympics, because all the top European teams are here – but we have prepared well and our aim remains to finish first in the end,” said Pavel Pankov, setter of Russia.
The Netherlands is through to the playoffs as the winner of its pool. The team coached by Roberto Piazza beat Pool host Finland with a score of 3-1 (25:23, 21:25, 27:25, 25:20). With these three points, they reached 13 in total and 4-1, leaving Turkey no chance of surpassing them in the charts regardless of its result in the last match against Finland. Nimir Abdel-Aziz was once again on a very high level, scoring 34 points on the winning side, while Fabian Plak made 79% attack (11/14, one error, blocked once), and Robbert Andringa had 71% reception (14 digs, 7 % excellent).
Bennie Tuinstra, Outside hitter of the Netherlands: “This is my first summer with the national team and I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to play so many matches and to be at EuroVolley. I think the main strength of this team is that we have many good players, who are ready to step in at any moment. Moreover, we have a lot of energy and always fight until the end, as you might have seen in this match too – where we came from behind a number of times and this is mainly due to our incredible fighting spirit.”
POOL C STANDINGS – updated on this day
🇳🇱| The Netherlands 13
🇹🇷| Turkey 9
🇷🇺| Russia 8
🇫🇮| Finland 6
🇪🇸| Spain 3
🇲🇰| North Macedonia 0
This pool is the only one, for now, whose all four representatives in the eighth-finals are determined: The Netherlands, Turkey, Russia, and Finland!
With a third victory in four games in Pool D in Tallinn (Estonia), the place in the Round of 16 is guaranteed for Germany.
Furthermore, second place in the pool chart is also guaranteed for the players around head coach Andrea Giani. Just like against France yesterday, the Italian expert on Germany’s bench rested most of his main stars, including György Grozer, who remained on the bench for the entire match against Latvia: 3-1 (25:22, 25:19, 25:27, 25:17). Grozer’s replacement, young Linus Weber, finished the game as the top scorer of his team with 18 points, including five aces.
Denys Kaliberda, Spiker of Germany: “Today, we were not as good as yesterday, we made too many mistakes and sometimes it was hard to keep the focus. But Latvia showed a really good performance today as well, it was not easy to play against them.”
Avo Keel, Coach of Latvia: “It looks that with the pressure off, we can play some good Volleyball. The guys did a nice job today. We cannot be really satisfied with the reception, but in other elements we performed quite well I think.”
On the same Pool, Croatia rises from ashes vs Estonia to remain in contention for the eighth-finals of the competition.
In their fourth match the team coached by Emanuele Zanini came back from 0-2 to 3-2. Partially, it was 20:25, 22:25, 25:18, 26:24, and 15:9. Croatia is now third in the charts with four points and 2-2, with one match to play.
France and Germany already secured playoff berths from Pool D. Apart from Croatia, two more teams hope to find themselves there, Latvia and Slovakia. Marko Sedlaček was the most prolific player for the win of Croatia today, scoring 20 points while Filip Šestan set up four blocks.
Ivan Raic, Spiker of Croatia: “It was a pleasure to play today in this beautiful hall and in front of these people, the fans are amazing here. It is one of the games that you will remember in your life. We were behind 0-2, but we showed character and came back. It was a nice game, and the most important thing is that we won”.
Cedric Enard, Coach of Estonia: “This is very-very hard to take, especially here, in front of these fans. But Croatia deserved this win, they were able to change the course of the game in the third set.”
POOL D STANDINGS – updated on this day
🇫🇷| France 9
🇩🇪| Germany 9
🇱🇻| Latvia 5
🇭🇷| Croatia 4
🇸🇰| Slovakia 3
🇪🇪| Estonia 1
| CEV EuroVolley 2021 | Day 7 | September 7, 2021
| POOL A 📍 Kraków (POL)
Serbia – Greece 3-2 (25:23, 22:25, 25:16, 30:28, 15:5)
Ukraine – Belgium 3-1 (25:27, 23:25, 25:18, 25:23)
| POOL B 📍 Ostrava (CZE)
Slovenia – Bulgaria 3-0 (25:18, 25:19, 25:21)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH
Montenegro – Czech Republic 0-3 (28:30, 23:25, 10:25)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH
| POOL C 📍 Tampere (FIN)
Spain – Russia 1-3 (20:25, 25:20, 16:25, 17:25)
Finland – The Netherlands 1-3 (23:25, 25:21, 25:27, 20:25)
| POOL D 📍 Tallin (EST)
Latvia – Germany 1-3 (22:25, 19:25, 27:25, 17:25)
Croatia – Estonia 3-2 (20:25, 22:25, 25:18, 26:24, 15:9)
| September 6, 2021
| September 8, 2021