Moscow, September 16, 2007 - Defeating Russia 3:2 in the final of the Menís Indesit European Championship 2007, Spain confirmed their dominance in European Menís Volleyball. The bronze medal was captured by Serbia who beat Finland in four sets.
In presence of the Major of Moscow, Mr. Yuri Luzhkov, CEV President Mr. Andrť Meyer, the President of the Russian Volleyball Federation Mr. Nikolay Patrushev as well as several international and national authorities, Spain celebrated their first title in European Championship history, following their 4th place in 2005 in Rome.
Outsider Spain kick started into the Indesit European Championship 2007 finalmatch showing great fighting spirit, leading 13-7 and 17-11. In front of 9í200 spectators in the Russian capital, the hosts couldnít find their rhythm in the beginning, committing unusual mistakes in ball control. On the other hand, the South Europeans pointed out their strength in defence with four direct block points, winning set one to 18.
However, the team of head coach Vladimir Alekno managed to strike back at the beginning of the second (8-3). Spain fought back bravely and took the lead at the second technical time-out (16-14), before Most Valuable Player Semen Poltavskij levelled to 17-17 from the back row. An Alexander Kosarev kill increased to 19-18, before another smash by Yury Berezhko squared the match to 1:1, causing a cheer of relief and happiness amongst the faithful Russian fans.
Determined to give this set their best shot, the Spaniards came back strongly, leading 8-6 in the first technical time-out. The Russians, finally getting their reception under control, turned up the heat, scoring with Alexey Kuleshov in the middle (15-13). While Enrique De la Fuente tied to 16-16 with a spike and a service kill, Russia stroke back with a Poltavskiy ace (20-19). However, the Spaniards didnít give up, took two time-outs and managed to advance to 24-21 in their favour. But four Alexey Ostapenko service hammers in a row stepped up the game again, giving Russia a 2:1 lead.
In spite of an outstanding Guillermo Falasca performance (30 points!), the Russians took a slight advantage in the fourth game (11-9). Three Russian strikes in a row made it difficult for the 2007 CEV European League winners coming back, but Spanish Israel Rodriquez tied to 16-16 with an ace. An Alexander Volkov block advanced to 20-19 for the Russian squad, but Spain levelled again (23-23). Another Poltavskiy service winner gave the home team their first match point, which they couldnít use. Contrariwise, an outstanding Spanish triple block turned around the score again, allowing the team of head coach Andrea Anastasi to make it to the deciding tie-break (30-28).
The shocked Russians started poorly in the fifth, giving the Spaniards a 5-2 lead. Kuleshov reduced to 5-3, but it was not enough. Another 10-5 advance for the guests made it even worse for the Russians, but Poltavskiy as well as Kosarev fought back (8-10). Rodriguez gave Spain the first match ball, but the Spaniards failed. Even worse, the Russians came back with an invincible block (14-14), before a Julian Garcia-Torres kill bounced the Spaniards in heaven (16-14).
In the bronze medal game, Serbia knocked out Finland in four sets. In the beginning of the match it was apparent that the Finns were exhausted, physically and emotionally, after yesterdayís semi-final against Spain. However, the Scandinavians tried to stop their opponents not getting too far away. When it seemed that the Suomi team got a chance to turn the tide in their favor (18-19), it was Ivan Miljkovich's time to serve. Even though he didn't score directly, he prevented the Finns from striking back (25-18). The Finns squared the match in the second (25-23). After gaining the advantage in the beginning of the third, the Serbian team managed to hold onto it until the end of the set, besting their opponents in both attacks and blocks (25:21). In the fourth set the fight came to an end in the middle, when the devastated Finns gave up (16-25).
MVP: Semen Poltavskiy (RUS)
Best Scorer: Ivan Miljkovic (SRB)
Best Spiker: Yury Berezhko (RUS)
Best Blocker: Luis Josť Molto (ESP)
Best Server: Semen Poltavskiy (RUS)
Best Setter: Vadim Khamuttskikh (RUS)
Best Libero: Alexey Verbov (RUS)
Indesit European Championships 2007
Moscow & St-Petersburg
Results & Rankings
ESP-FIN 3:2 25-23, 19-25, 22-25, 26-24, 15-10
RUS-SRB 3:0 27-25, 25-22, 25-15
Final day results
FIN-SRB 1:3 18-25, 25-23, 21-25, 16-25
RUS-ESP 2:3 18-25, 25-20, 26-24, 28-30, 14-16
* qualified for the 2009 Indesit European Championships in Turkey