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Belarus pull off tremendous comeback on EuroVolley opening day

Lausanne, Switzerland, September 22, 2017 – 14 of the 16 participating teams went in action on Friday as the 2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women got underway in Azerbaijan and Georgia, with Belarus pulling off a tremendous comeback from two sets down to defeat Croatia in the most interesting match of the day.

EuroVolley 2017 opened at the National Gymnastics Arena in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku with another exciting five-setter, between neighbours Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainians came back to tie the match twice before the Russians won the tie-breaker to close this tight Pool C match with a 3-2 (25-18, 20-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-13) victory. The other two teams in the Pool, Bulgaria and Turkey, will start their campaigns on Saturday.

The official opening ceremony followed shortly after, with Azerbaijan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Yagub Eyyubov delivering the main address in front of the 4,300 spectators, who then saw the home squad master a 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-16) shutout of Hungary. Another thrilling five-set game completed the first day of action in Pool A as Poland persevered for a 3-2 (23-25, 25-15, 18-25, 25-23, 15-5) win against Germany.

The fans at the other Azerbaijani venue, the Goygol Olympic Sports Complex in Ganja, saw Serbia cruise to a 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-23) victory over the Czech Republic and the Netherlands manage a 3-1 (23-25, 25-12, 25-21, 25-14) win against neighbouring Belgium in the first games of Pool D.

At the New Sports Palace in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, Italy did not leave any chances to the home team, rallying to a speedy 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-12) shutout to open Pool B for business. In the second match there, Belarus looked quite lost in the first two sets against Croatia only to rise from the dead and triumph victorious with 3-2 (10-25, 15-25, 25-21, 25-20, 15-9) on the scoreboard at final whistle.

The pool stage of the European Championship will end on Monday with the four pool winners qualifying directly for the quarterfinals. The teams that finish second and third in the four pools will also stay in contention for the quarterfinals, but will have to go through a playoff round on Tuesday.

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