KARLSRUHE, LEIPZIG, Germany, 6 September - Russia confirmed its favorite role at the men's European Championship by nailing Poland 3-1 in Pool I action in Leipzig, Germany on Saturday.
It was Russia's second victory.
The Eastern European match was also an almost two hour clash between Russia's spikers Serguei Tetioukhine and Roman Iakovlev and Poland's big hitters Dawid Murek and Pawel Papke. Tetioukhine finished as top scorer with 19 points, one more than Papke.
"We won against a well-organized Polish team," Russian head coach Guennadi
Chipouline said. "They had a very strong service and it was really close today."
Bulgaria had a bad day on Saturday, losing against Serbia and Montenegro and player Matey Kaziyski after the CEV Jury ruled he was not eligible to play. Kaziyski was apparently left off the team's list.
The move also rendered their earlier match against Russia as a 3-0 (25-0, 25-0, 25-0) for their opponents.
In the other Pool I clash, Netherlands defeated Greece 3-2.
In Pool 2 hosts Germany impressed the sold out dm-arena in Karlsruhe by nailing Czech Republic in three straight sets. Germany led from the first whistle and was never in danger. Effective blocking by Norbert Walter, who replaced the injured captain Stefan Hubner as well as those from Ralf Bergmann succeeded in completely shutting out the Czech attack.
Christian Pampel top scored with 18 points.
"We now have the great opportunity to reach the final round in Berlin", Germany's
head coach Stelian Moculescu concluded, adding that his side were "only at the beginning of their capacity."
In earlier Pool II action, Italy needed barely one hour to defeat Spain in straight sets to see Iberian hopes of making the next round begin to evaporate. They were beaten by France on Friday. Andrea Sartoretti top scored for Italy with 16 points.
"We felt a lot of pressure in this match, even when we won 3-0," Italian captain
Andrea Giani said.
France beat Slovakia in straight sets in the remaining Pool II clash of Saturday and is looking very competitive in the championship.
Matches continue Sunday.
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