The defending champions Serbia shows its real face in quarterfinals to convincingly defeat the Netherlands in straight sets in the first quarterfinal of the 2021 CEV Volleyball European Championship in Gdansk’s Ergo Arena, Poland.
For the third time in a row, Serbia placed itself among the four best teams at the continental championship.
Partially it was 25:23, 25:20 and 27:25.
After narrowly avoiding elimination from Turkey, just a couple of days ago, Serbia’s fans feared a similar pattern today, however, the team commanded by Slobodan Kovač clearly defeated the rivals, whose team chemistry was certainly ruined with the expulsion of Fabian Plak.
Serbian defense managed to tame the Dutch most dangerous player Nimir Abdel-Aziz in the large part of the match: he still finished the match as the top scorer of his squad with 14 points, but with only 46% in attack.
On the winning side, Uroš Kovačević was the top scorer with 15 points and made 71% reception (21 digs, one error, 24% excellent).
Nikola Jovović, setter of Serbia: “I think concentration was the key. We started this game with a good attitude and with a good mindset, because during the last game against Turkey we had some brainstorms during the match and today we just tried to stay focused from the first to last ball. We promised ourselves in the locker room that this would not be our last game at this tournament. It was a good day for us and I really like the way we played and how we stopped Nimir who is a great player.”
Wessel Keemink, setter of Netherlands: “I think that we started the first set well. We had some balls that we looked a little bit nervous, including myself, but we also had some good points. But we gave away a little bit of balls. The second set we started terribly, then we came back but it was too late. In the third set we played what we could, they also played well and they were a bit better in the end.”
On the other matchof the day there is a Poland’s symphony against Russia, and world champion enters medal zone!
Poland va. Russia is a big classic of men’s volleyball as these two had held several amazing matches thus far.
Tonight, however, the world champion had an extra player on its side: the home fans who filled the stands of the Ergo Arena, which can accommodate 11,000 spectators at volleyball matches, almost to the top!
Building on a spectacular 72% effectiveness in the attack in the first set, Vital Heynen’s side took the next two and eliminated the rival who came to the tournament with the weakened squad: 3-0 (25:14, 26:24, 25:19).
Bartosz Kurek and Wilfredo León scored 14 points each for the winners, with the latter having 74% attack (14/19, blocked once).
Egor Kliuka put down 14 points for Russia.
Wilfredo Leon, outside hitter of Poland: “If we play next games like this one we will win this EuroVolley. We played great and I’m very happy about our performance. I know very well these players, because I played with them in Russia. It was a hard game, we played strong and pushed them until the end and now we are waiting for next opponent.”
Egor Kliuka, outside hitter of Russia: “It’s difficult to analyse this game, because we played like 50%, I don’t know why. It’s very difficult to say something after the game when you are losing in straight sets. Poland just played good today.”
| CEV EuroVolley 2021 | QUARTERFINALS
| September 14, 2021 @ Gdansk (POL)
• The Netherlands – Serbia 0-3 (23:25, 20:25, 25:27)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH
• Poland – Russia 3-0 (25:14, 26:24, 25:19)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH
| September 15, 2021 @ Ostrava (CZE)