Belgium win European League to make it to World League Intercontinental Qualification Round
Belgium claimed this year's CEV Volleyball European League with an impeccable record of 14 victories in as many matches|
Marmaris, Turkey, July 14, 2013 – Belgium
is the winner of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European League – Men. The Belgian
squad has become the real sensation of the competition with an outstanding
demonstration of power and high-class volleyball that finished with Dominique
Baeyens’ men producing a record-breaking performance in the tournament and
winning the European League crown.
In the big game of the Final Four celebrated in the Turkish city of Marmaris,
Belgium beat Croatia 3-0 (21-14, 21-14, 21-13) thereby getting the right to
join the Intercontinental Qualification Round for the 2014 FIVB World League.
The domination of Belgium throughout the 2013 edition of the CEV Volleyball
European League has been so sensational that the Red Dragons have reached the
top spot of the podium after signing an extraordinary streak of 14 victories in
14 matches. No team has been able to beat the Belgians this year in the
In the final match, the exceptional distribution of setter Matthias Valkiers
and the terrific blocking system of the Belgians, together with the effective
spikes by MVP player, Bram Van Den Dries, got Dominique Baeyens’ men in the
lead right from point 1. Croatia found a thousand and one problems to put the
ball in the other side of the net and only the contribution by Ivan Raic
maintained his team with options in the court. The attacks by the Croatian
opposite, designated best scorer of the tournament, turned into the only means
of scoring for his team. Nonetheless, the collective exhibition by Belgium soon
ended Croatia’s illusion of victory.
In fact, the three sets followed a similar pattern. As soon as the Belgian
combined efforts appeared on the court, the Croatians’ options of victory
disappeared. Before the technical time-outs of each set arrived, the
differences in the scoreboard favouring Belgium had turned into such a heavy
stone on the shoulders of Croatia that Igor Simuncic’s men could do nothing but
to wait for the unavoidable: Belgium's victory.
With the fourteenth triumph in the competition, Belgium achieves its first
title in CEV Volleyball European League and consummate a historic feat of
finishing the tournament without a single defeat, an accomplishment carried out
only once before, when the Netherlands signed a similar run in the 2006
edition. In 2013, Belgium repeats the sensational act and proclaims itself as
the new CEV Volleyball European League title owners and confirms its condition
of rising power in European Volleyball.
“It was a great game. My team played really good. They were excellent. I didn’t
think that it was going to be that easy before we came here but we played much
better than yesterday. Everybody showed a great performance and this is why we
haven’t lost a set in two days. I’m really very proud of my team”, said Belgium
head coach, Dominique Baeyens. “This is an amazing feeling. This victory shows
that our group is really a team. Everybody helps each other and our staff is
helping us so much, that I feel really very happy for this gold medal”, pointed
out Belgium captain, Hendrick Tuerlinckx.
Despite the defeat, the laments did not appear on the Croatian side. Having
arrived to this edition of the tournament in substitution of Portugal and after
brilliantly qualifying to the Final Four, the silver medal represents a joyous
moment for Igor Simuncic’s men. “The game today was very difficult for us,
because of the tough match we had to play yesterday. So we knew that Belgium
was such a powerful team that we wouldn’t have any options unless Belgium gave us
any small chance; this never happened. We were under pressure through the whole
match and we tried to keep a good atmosphere, a good spirit, waiting for our
four minutes of hope, but they never came”, stated the Croatian head coach.
“Belgium played a very good game; we made too many mistakes, but what I want to
say is that I am very proud of my team and my staff; this silver medal is
golden shine for us”, pointed out the captain of Croatia, Tsimafei Zhukouski.
MVP: Bram Van den Dries (BEL)
Best Scorer: Ivan Raic (CRO)
Best Spiker: Michal Finger (CZE)
Best Blocker: Tomas Siroky (CZE)
Best Server: Tsimafei Zhukouski (CRO)
Best Setter: Matthias Valkiers (BEL)
Best Receiver: Adam Bartos (CZE)
Best Libero: Stijn Dejonckheere (BEL)
3. Czech Republic