28 September 2022

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Golden European League: Gold for Czech Republic! Turkey defeated in four sets! Bronze for Croatia

4 min read

19.06.2022., arena Varazdin, Varazdin - Final Four EHF Europska zlatna liga, finale, Turska - Ceska.

2022 CEV Golden European League Final Four ended with a great victory for Czech Republic, crowned as new champions of the competition. They dethroned the former defending champions from Türkiye by beating them in four sets (21:25, 22:25, 25:21, 25:27), claiming their first title in the competition since its maiden edition back in 2004. 18 years later, the Czech Republic finish on the top of the podium, followed by 2019 and 2021 champions Türkiye, and the hosts from Croatia are left with the bronze medals, who they survived a five-set clash against 2021 silver medallists Ukraine.

Türkiye and Czech Republic were the two undefeated teams in this year’s edition of the competition but,
eventually, it was the team of head coach Jiri Novak who stopped the domination of the rivals who, before the final, had lost only two sets!
Jan Galabov ended the match as top scorer with 21 points while Adis Lagumdzija scored 19 on the other side of net.

The match start better for Türkiye. in first set, with Efe Bayram who scored three points in a row. However, on the other side of the net, the rivals also started their game, led by Patrik Indra, author of 6 points in this part the game. Balance until the decisive 20-16, and even a time-out for Türkiye didn’t work out, and the game was closed by Jan Galabov.

It seems that Türkiye were back on track in the second set, and they were leading throughout the most of it. However, Czech Republic again showed great determination, and even when they were four points behind (16-20), with Jiri Srb on the serve, and a great point by Marek Sotola, they came back, to even take the lead at 23-22 in their favour, and afterwards, get closer to the win. Also Jan Galabov contributed, with 14 points by that time of the game.

Türkiye refused to give up, and they were able to lead throughout the most of the next set, at first 9-7 and then 15-13, led by leader Adis Lagumdzija. It was the better performance on the blocking (four to one) and stronger serve that helped Türkiye to back into the game.

Czech Republic didn’t lose concentration, and started leading comfortably in the decisive fourth set with a 10-7 and a 16-12 lead. Türkiye reacted putting down the points of 16-17 and 20-21 with Adis Lagumdzija author of the most important points. Despite his efforts, Czech Republic remained the more focused team, and with an ace by Martin Licek became new champions!

Martin Licek, Czech Republic: “It’s beautiful, I don’t know what to say. They say that champions finish with an ace, and I’m glad we did it today and got the gold. It was the serve and the reception that helped us! I think we enjoyed it more than the Turks.

Jan Galabov, Czech Republic: “It’s great! Before this match, we didn’t have any super high hopes that we could do it. We did it on the field, the tactical stuff helped us, and we pulled it off. We went into it with a clear head because we had nothing to lose. The Turks were the clear favourites, maybe that’s why we played better, and we could go head-to-head.

Earlier, final four hosts Croatia defeated 2017 winners and 2021 silver medallists Ukraine at tie break (25:20, 25:19, 18:25, 17:25, 17:15). The players of Ugis Krastins, after second tie break in two days, were close to come back after losing the first two sets, and equalising at 2-2. However, in the deciding set, Croatia take the medals. Petar Dirlic was one of the best among the winners with 29 points and 58% in attack, while for Ukraine, Oleh Plotnytskyi scored 25 points and 55% in attack.

For sure, we are really happy about the result, but this is one thing only. This young team takes at this first Golden European League together, as we have in mind some retired players, new staff, etc. I am happy about the process, because we have things to fix, but we worked well, and today’s victory brings something positive for this team – it confirms that our direction is good. We will have to keep going, and right now, I am proud of the guys!” Said Cedric Enard, head coach of Croatia

Kruno Nikacevic, Player of Croatia, “First of all, I would like to congratulate my teammates, because I think that this is a great success for Croatia’s Men’s national team. We played very well in the first two sets, but then again, as yesterday, we had some ups and downs, but fortunately, today, we won!

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🏐| 2022 CEV Golden European League
FINAL FOUR @ Arena City Sport Hall – Varaždin

| SemifinalsJune 18, 2022
Czech Republic – Ukraine 3-2 (23:25, 22:25, 25:23, 25:22, 15:10)
Turkey – Croatia 3-1 (27:25, 21:25, 25:19, 25:19)

| FinalsJune 19, 2022

• Bronze Medal Match: Croatia – Ukraine 3-2 (25:20, 25:19, 18:25, 17:25, 17:15)

Gold Medal Match: Turkey – Czech Republic 1-3 (21:25, 22:25, 25:21, 25:27)

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