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Upsets mark Eurovolley 2019 Round of 16

Slovenia celebrate a point against Bulgaria as they advance to the quarterfinals of the 2019 European Championship (Photo: CEV)
Lausanne, Switzerland, September 22, 2019 - Although the top favourites (including all three medallists of the last edition in 2017) all advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2019 Men's European Championship, jointly held across four countries, a number of upsets marked the start of the knockout stage.

Russia, Germany and Serbia, who had finished 1-2-3 in the last edition of the European Championship, all eliminated their opponents in the Round of 16 to make the top eight at the expense of Greece, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic respectively.

• Russia v Slovenia, Monday in Ljubljana
• Poland v Germany, Monday in Apeldoorn
• France v Italy, Tuesday in Nantes
• Serbia v Ukraine, Tuesday in Antwerp

In the only one of those matches to go beyond three sets, Germany upset the Netherlands in Apeldoorn 3-1 (25-17, 25-22, 30-32, 25-23). The Germans could have finished it in three, had they not blown six match points in the third.

But the Ukraine, returning to the European championship this year after a 14-year hiatus, stunned Belgium 3-2 (25-22, 21-25, 14-25, 25-18, 15-10) on the back of 23 points by Dmytro Viietskyi and 20 more by Ian Iereschenko - in Antwerp before some 6,600 Belgian fans, no less. Belgium had ranked fourth last time around, losing to Serbia in the bronze medal match of 2017.

Also punching above their weight in the Round of 16 were Slovenia, who came back from a set down at home in Ljubljana to knock out Bulgaria 3-1 (25-27, 25-17, 25-16, 25-17) before more than 8,000 fans in Ljubljana. Klemen Cebulj led Slovenia, who outplayed their opponents across the board.

France, hosts of the medals matches next weekend, beat Finland and reigning world champions Poland downed Spain - both in straight sets.

Italy completed the quarterfinals lineup on Sunday with a sweep of Turkey.

The quarterfinals are followed by semifinals on 26 and 27 September and the bronze medal match on 28 September and the final on 29 September.

• More information on the CEV website.

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