In first semifinal of CEV Volleyball European Championship, Slovenia eliminates Poland from knockout stage for 4th time in row!
Another episode of the big rivalry among the national teams of Poland and Slovenia ended with a win of the latter who advanced to the grand finale of the competition.
Moreover, this was a re-match of EuroVolley 2019 semifinal, when Slovenia won 3-1 in Ljubljana.
This time, Poland reached the semifinals unbeaten, while Slovenia lost their opener against Czech Republic and another Pool B match against Italy.
Either way, Slovenia remained a nightmare for the Poles, with an epic four sets win (17:25, 32:30, 25:16, 37:35) in front of 11,000 spectators in Katowice, to reach the finals for the second time in a row, the third time in the last four continental championships.
Things could have been different if the world champion managed to close the second set, after having 24:22, and gain 2-0 in sets.
The fourth set was a real drama, filled with numerous demands for a video challenge by Vital Heynen on Slovenia’s match balls.
Tonček Štern top-scored Slovenia with 20 points, 7 in second set, while Jan Kozamernik made five blocks. Wilfredo León tallied 20 points for Poland, while Piotr Nowakowski and Jakub Kochanowski set up four blocks each.
Toncek Stern, opposite of Slovenia: “The games against Poland are always the big battles and you don’t play such matches every day. It was a hard match, but we played as a team, all six or rather seven players played one for all, all for one. But what is the key to victories against Poland? I don’t know, but it’s somehow like a ritual, but we are definitely happy that we won over Poland in front of their 12-13 thousands of fans, now we have to prepare and recover ahead of the next match.”
Bartosz Kurek, opposite of Poland: “Slovenia dominated in every element as a team and with their individual players. They just played better, so congratulations to them. ”
On the other semifinal Italy, who reached this stage of the competition unbeaten, defeats the defending champions of Serbia with the same result, in four sets. Partially it was 27:29, 22:25, 25:23, 18:25.
Thanks to this win, the young Italy National Team got the right to play its 11th final of the continental championship, the first in eight years! The young and rejuvenated squad under the command of Ferdinando De Giorgi remained undefeated in the tournament with eight victory, a record that they had only once thus far, in 1958.
Alessandro Micchieletto stood out on the winning side with 23 points, including four blocks (7 points in set 2 and 83% of success in attack!), as many blocks as Simone Anzani, while Uroš Kovačević scored 16 points for Serbia, and Marko Podraščanin set up five blocks.
Tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. Moscow time, Italy will face Slovenia for the gold medal!
Alessandro Michieletto, outside hitter of Italy: “I’m very happy today, because we played very good volleyball. I think that we also served very good and we made a lot of points. I’m very excited ahead of tomorrow’s final. Serbia is a difficult opponent and we made a perfect match. We had a chance to win the third set, but it’s not important as we won the match.”
Marko Ivović, outside hitter of Serbia: “We had a huge will and motivation to defend the title, but Italy was better today. Tomorrow we will play for bronze, it might be even more difficult for Poland mentally, but they have thousands of fans here on their side, but we will try our best.”
| CEV EuroVolley 2021 | SEMIFINALS
| September 18, 2021 @ Katowice (POL)
• Poland – Slovenia 1-3 (25:17, 30:32, 16:25, 35:27)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH
• Serbia – Italy 1-3 (27:29, 22:25, 25:23, 18:25)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH