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Sensational Slovenia, Serbia drop bombshells on Eurovolley 2019

Uros Kocavic single-handedly blocks France's Earvin Ngapeth as Serbia upset the hosts in Paris to make the final of the 2019 European Volleyball Championship. (Photo: CEV)
Lausanne, Switzerland, September 27, 2019 - Slovenia will be reliving days of 2015 and Serbia will seek to repat the triumph of 2011, after both dropped bombshells on the 2019 Men's European Volleyball Championship with stunning upset wins over Poland and France in the semifinals of the competition and are set to clash in Sunday's final in Paris.

Slovenia will be in their second final in the history of the competition, after their silver medal in 2015 when they lost to France in the final in four sets. Serbia are after their third gold medal, after their successes in 2001 (as Yugoslavia) - both with wins in the finals over Italy.

Medals matches in Paris:
• Bronze medal: Poland v France on Saturday
• Final: Slovenia v Serbia on Sunday

After eliminating defending champions Russia in the quarterfinals, Slovenia shocked reigning world champions Poland 3-1 (25-23, 24-26, 25-22, 25-23) Thursday at home in Ljubljana, before an ecstatic crowd of almost 12,000.

Once again, Slovenia had more scoring solutions than Poland,, Tine Urnaut leading the home pack with 18 points,, while the visitors relied a bit too much on Wilfredo Leon who bagged the match high of 22 points - but was restricted to 47% in attack (15/32).

And although it all ended rather unceremoniously, with captain Michal Kubiak serving the ball into the net for match point, there was celebration through the night in Ljubljana.

Serbia, meanwhile, silenced the 13,000 French fans in Paris Friday night with a sensational 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 17-25, 15-7) win in their first competition under the leadership of coach Slobodan Kovac.

It all ended again rather anticlimactically, with Stephen Boyer smashing the ball in the net from the service line - though the writing was on the wall after Serbia shot off to a 5-0 lead in the tie-break and extend that at the very end.

The Balkan side conceded nine aces (four of those by Earvin Ngapeth), but totally outblocked France 16 to 6 and were also highly more efficient in attacking.

Aleksandar Atanasijevic was unstoppable on the net, with a 63% attacking efficiency (24/38) and a total of 27 points, with Uros Kovacevic contributing another 18. The match high, however, belonged to Ngapeth with 29.

• More information on the CEV website.

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