Germany, Serbia, Russia, Belgium in EuroVolley semifinal
In Halle’s Gerry Weber Stadium, the Germans got closer to their dreams of a medal by sweeping Croatia in straight sets (25-23, 25-23, 25-18). Christiane Fürst was the best player for Germany with 16 points, including six blocks. Samantha Fabris scored 19 times for Croatia. Germany head coach Giovanni Guidetti: “I want to thank my team. It is a great honour to be the coach of such a great team. My players played with so much intensity. We are more than happy that we reached our first goal to go to Berlin. We hope we will find the same atmosphere in Berlin as we enjoyed here in Halle/Westphalia. We would like to continue our winning streak.”
In Wednesday’s first quarterfinal, Russia defeated Turkey in a one-way match 3:0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-19), claiming their spot for the final four in Berlin. In front of 5.900 fans, the Russian team convinced with 42% successful attacks and 16 block points. Russia head coach Yuriy Marichev: “My players implemented my game plan almost perfectly. They key to success was our good preparation. I saw the determination in the eyes of my players today.”
In Zurich’s much-awaited duel between titleholder Serbia and World. No. 4 Italy, the reigning champions kept the upper hand. The team of head coach Zoran Terzic outclassed the Azzurre in straight sets 25-14, 28-26, 25-18. The Italians had their best phase in the beginning of the second set. Serbia head coach Zoran Terzic: “We put a lot of pressure on the Italian players. First on serve, then also in block-defense. They needed many chances to score. If we are physically and mentally ready, we can also beat Russia.”
For the first time in history, Belgium claimed a ticket for the final four at CEV Volleyball European Championship for women. The ‘yellow tigers’ overpowered France in a thrilling five-setter (22-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-20, and 15-9). Belgium head coach Gert Vande Broek: “France played an amazing game today. We knew that the French would be a difficult opponent. They had nothing to lose. The fifth set is always kind of gambling. Now we are looking forward for a new challenge in Berlin.”
The competition resumes on Saturday with the best four teams battling for the medals.
Semi-finals (Max-Schmeling-Halle Berlin):
Saturday, 17.00 (local time): Russia v
The winner of the CEV Volleyball European Championship will qualify for the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup featuring a total of six teams per gender with the hosts Japan being joined by the continental winners from Asia, Europe, NORCECA and South America with an additional country selected by the FIVB. Africa do not have an automatic spot in the tournament after finishing the 2012 Olympic Games as the lowest ranked confederation amongst the five.
The World Grand Champions Cup is a quadrennial round-robin competition for men and women. The last edition of the tournament was in 2009 with Brazil coming away with the men’s title for the second consecutive time after remaining unbeaten while in the women’s tournament, Italy picked up their first ever crown. Japan will host the next edition, with the women’s event set to take place from November 12 to 17, 2013 and the men’s from November 19 to 24, 2013.
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CEV Volleyball European Championship
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