PRESS RELEASE 10.07.2004



European League 2004

OPAVA, Czech Republic, 10 July 2004 – Czech Republic and Russia will play Sunday’s final of the European League after Saturday’s semifinal action here in Opava, Czech Republic surprised by blowing Netherlands off the court (3-0). Russia, favorite for the Olympic Gold later this summer defeated with the same score in the other semifinal.

Czech Republic satisfied the almost 2,000 fans here in Opava by defeating Netherlands in three straight sets. The home crowd favorite took the lead after the first point of the first set and never gave the advantage away anymore. Although Netherlands was the favorite to win this match, the Flying Dutchmen were not able to fight against their opponent. Czech Republic claimed the victory after just more than one hour of play and left Netherlands, one of the European teams qualified for the Olympic Games, completely empty-handed.

‘We are very happy that we could win against Netherlands, which is one of the best teams in the world’, Czech coach Pavel Rerabek said. ‘We knew we had to stop the outside attacks of Reinder Nummerdor and Guido Gortzen and that was what the players did. My team played extremely concentrated and with a lot of emotions. That was important to win.’

It looked like the Dutch team was not concentrated at all. The major difference between the two teams was the number of mistakes. Netherlands made 29 unforced errors, while Czech Republic made 20 mistakes. ‘We came here to win, but the team was not in a good shape’, Dutch head coach Bert Goedkoop said. ’Furthermore, Czech Republic played extremely well and gave us no chance at all.’

Dutch opposite attacker Richard Schuil was the best scorer of the match with 12 points. On the Czech side, Martin Lebl made 11 points.

Czech Republic will meet Russia in Sunday’s final. The Russian Rockets were never in danger against Germany. Russia is here Opava with the complete Olympic selection. Only coach Guennadi Chipouline is absent, as he stayed in Russia because of illness. Boris Kolcins, who is normally the assistant coach, replaced him.

In the first set, Germany was able to keep close to the opponent, but after Russia started to serve better, the German team had no chance anymore. Russian spiker Serguei Tethioukhine even served a handful of aces in the middle of the second set.

The European League will come to a conclusion on Sunday, when Czech Republic and Russia will play for the gold medal. Netherlands and Germany will decide who will take home the bronze medal.

The European League is organized for the first time by the European Volleyball Confederation CEV. This competition for the European men’s national teams was created with the support of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), and in collaboration with the National Federations, the CEV created a new playing field for those wishing to compete in European competitions.

European League Final Four

Semifinal results

CZE – NED 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-19)

RUS – GER 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-14)

Match schedule Sunday 11 July 2004 (all times CET).

1430 NED – GER (Classification 3-4)

1700 CZE – RUS (FINAL)

More on the web at www.cev.lu

Enjoy & Be There: 10-11 July 2004: Final Four European League,Opava, Czech Republic. 22-25 July 2004: Under 20 European Beach Volleyball Championships, Koper, Slovenia. 29 July - 1 August 2004: Under 23 European Beach Volleyball Championships, Brno, Czech Republic. 5-8 August 2004: Under 18 European Beach Volleyball Championships, Myslowice, Poland. 2 September 2004: Drawing of lots 2004-2005 Indesit European Champions’ League, Vienna, Austria. 3-11 September 2004: Women’s Under 19 European Championships, Bardejov, Presov, Slovakia. 4-12 September 2004: Men’s Under 20 European Championships, Zagreb