F I V B  FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE VOLLEYBALL
PRESS RELEASE 08.09.2003

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Men's Senior European Championships 2003- Serbia & Montenegro, Italy and Germany still undefeated

KARLSRUHE, LEIPZIG, Germany, 7 September - After three days of play at the Men's Senior European Championship in Germany, three teams are still undefeated. Defending champion and Olympic gold medallist Serbia and Montenegro won their third straight match by nailing Russia (3-1) in Pool I of the event. In Pool II, Italy defeated France 3-1. Hosts Germany booked their third victory in a row by defeating Spain in Pool II. Italy and France played the best match of the European Championship so far. The Pool II clash was watched by more than 5,000 volleyball fans in the dm-arena of Karlsruhe and the spectators enjoyed spectacular volleyball. It was the clash between the spikers Samuele Papi and Andrea Sartoretti on the Italian side and Stephane Antigua and Franz Granvorka on the French side that provided all the sparks. The key of the match was the second set point of Italy's in the third set. After both teams won a set, Luigi Mastrangelo blocked the French attack of Antigua at 25-24. With Italy leading by two sets to one, France was never able to come back. Italy claimed the 3-1 (25-21, 17-25, 26-24 25-20) victory and remain undefeated after three days of competition. Italians Sartoretti and Matej Cernic both scored 18 points. The French middle blocker Olivier Kieffer made 16 points, the same number as Italian Papi. "Both teams were good in receiving, but our block and our defense was good as well," Italian head coach Gian Paolo Montali stated. "I like the French game, they defend, defend, defend. I am happy with the victory, but the European Championship is not finished yet." "Italy played on a very high level," Philippe Blain, coach of the French team replied. "We let the Italians get back into the game in the third set when we wer e leading by four points." Serbia & Montenegro nailed Russia in the Pool I clash played in Leipzig. Both teams, favorites for the European Championship, wanted to win the match to have the best possibility to make the semifinals where the best 12 teams of the world's leading volleyball continent meet. However, Serbia & Montenegro won the match 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 25-23, 25-15) against the vice-World Champion in front of 4,500 spectators putting them in the driving seat to reach the final four, while Russia has to defeat the Netherlands on Wednesday. "I'm satisfied," Balkan Blues captain Nikola Grbic, who as setter led his team to victory, said. "Psychologically this victory is very important for us, because it gives us further motivation for the upcoming matches." "Our opponent deserved the victory," Russian head coach Guennadi Chipouline stated. Germany defeated Spain on Sunday evening in front of almost 6,000 spectators in Karlsruhe. The German team didn't play as well as during the first two matches, but the performance of especially opposite attacker Christian Pampel was enough to clinch the 3-1 (26-24, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22) win. In earlier Pool I action, Netherlands surprised by beating Poland 3-2 (29-27, 21-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-9) in Leipzig. The Dutch team, winner of the European Championship in 1997, is only an outsider now after inconsistent results in the past year. Here in Germany, the mixed team of old stars like Richard Schuil and Reinder Nummerdor and young talents like Nico Freriks and Rob Bontje played one of the best matches this year against the upcoming Polish team. Schuil and power hitter Guido Gortzen were the main responsibles for the Dutch victory. Schuil, top scorer of the entire event so far, made 27 points, while Gortzen put 25 points on the scoreboard. On the Polish side, Piotr Gruszka made 17 p oints. With the victory, Netherlands has a great chance to make it to the semifinals. "This was our best match we played so far," the Dutch captain Reinder Nummerdor said. "We definitely needed the victory and you can imagine that we are really happy." In other Sunday action, the Czech Republic defeated Slovakia 3-1 (27-29, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22) in Pool II, while Greece pulled off the big upset of beating Bulgaria 3-1 (25-20, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18) in Pool I. Monday will be a travel day for the twelve teams participating in the Men's Senior European Championships. The teams that played in Leipzig will travel to Karlsruhe and the teams that in Karlsruhe will go to Leipzig. The matches in the preliminary pool phase will continue on Wednesday. After the single round robin preliminary pool phase, the best two teams of each group will proceed to the semifinals. The third and fourth ranked teams will fight for the fifth till eighth position. The semifinals and finals will be played in Berlin on September 13 and 14.


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