The “Oranjes” are out to “amaze the world”
The Netherlands finished as one of the two best second-placed teams after two excellent 3-0 victories over France and Hungary and a tight 3-2 defeat to Croatia in Rovinj|
Lausanne, Switzerland, January 17, 2014 - It is now almost 20 years since the Netherlands were one of the most dominant countries in international volleyball. The men finished runner's-up in the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship in 1994, and were crowned Olympic champions two years later. When this year’s FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship takes place in Poland from September 3 to 21, the men will be mere spectators for the third time in a row. The hopes of the entire nation will once again rest with the ladies this year.
The reaction to qualifying for the World Championship revealed just how important this success was for the volleyball-mad Dutch fans. The team posted a picture of them celebrating the qualification on Facebook (nederlandsdamesvolleybalteam) and wrote: ‘Yessss we did it, qualified!’. As a result, their Facebook page exploded. The post received many likes and prompted fans to show their support and congratulate the players. It was the same story on Twitter (@volleybaldames).
Two excellent 3-0 victories over France and Hungary and a tight 3-2 defeat to Croatia at the qualifying tournament in the Croatian coastal town of Rovinj were sufficient to progress to the finals. The Netherlands were awarded their ticket to the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship in Italy, from September 23 to October 12, as one of the two best second-placed teams at the five European qualifying tournaments.
“In the fourth set, I was told that we had already qualified for the World Championship, regardless of the result of this game,” said Dutch coach Gido Vermeulen. “However, I did not inform my players until the fifth set. Croatia played well in the first and second, while we were able to display some good volleyball in the third and fourth. I am not happy with our defeat, but nevertheless very pleased with our qualification for the Worlds.”
Captain Maret Grothues was simply relieved: “I’m so happy we qualified. We knew it would be difficult to play against Croatia in Croatia, but we managed to keep calm and kept confidence in each other and our play. We fought back from 2-0 to 2-2 and knew in the fifth set that we had done enough to qualify. Mission accomplished!’’
With 25 points, experienced spiker Manon Flier was once again the outstanding points-scorer in the deciding match against Croatia. Around her, Vermeulen has built a young, strong team that showed flashes of brilliance in some of the games at last year’s European Championship in Germany and Switzerland, despite finishing a disappointing ninth. Since then, the team has become more dangerous, as Hungary’s coach Laszlo Hollosy acknowledged after his team’s 3-0 defeat: “The Netherlands have improved a lot recently.”
The main improvements have come in the team’s skill and tactical prowess on court, as the Dutch have been among the most physically strong teams in the world for a long time. They have won gold (1995), silver twice (1991 and 2009) and bronze (1985) at the European Championship. And the Netherlands have also triumphed in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix in 2007. The prestigious annual competition between the best international volleyball teams – this year with a record number of 28 teams – will also provide the perfect preparation for the highlight of the 2014 season. They will play with Poland, Peru, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Canada, Cuba and Belgium. The neighbouring Belgians, whose ladies and men’s teams both qualified for the World Championships, also proved the perfect sparring partner for the Oranje team ahead of the successful qualifying campaign.
The Dutch ladies will be making their 13th appearance at the World Championship. Although they are yet to win a medal, the team has finished no lower than 11th (2011) in their last six outings, with seventh place in 1996 their best result.
“The Netherlands have always been present at the World Championships and we are relieved and happy that we will be there in Italy for this year’s tournament too. We have a young team with a lot of potential. This major global tournament gives us the chance to compete against the strongest countries in the world, which is essential experience if you want to grow in quality,” said Manon Flier, looking ahead to the highlight of the season.
Vermeulen is already looking forward to taking on the best teams in the world. “We are glad to be present at the 2014 World Championship. We have a promising young team, for whom it is essential to play at the World Championship to develop further. Italy is a beautiful volleyball country, with halls packed full with volleyball fans. It’s fantastic to play in this atmosphere,” he said. And Vermeulen has one primary goal: “We want to use this world stage to show what we are capable of, and to amaze the world.”
Other FIVB news
- FIVB Volleyball World League - LIVE
- Turkey hosts USA, Belgium, Italy in World Grand Prix
- Day 23 sees Brazil and France extend their lead after both record straight sets victories
- Antiga: "We are now playing for a ticket to the Finals in Rio"
- Australia take on Serbia and Turkey play USA, live on YouTube
- Poland and USA prepare for Pool B climax
- Sanderson ready for emotional homecoming
- FIVB World Grand Prix 2015 - LIVE
- Countdown begins to European Volleyball Gala and Champions League drawing of lots ceremony
- World Grand Prix Week 2 preview: All 28 teams play in thrilling matches around the world
- World League Week 8 preview: Group 3 finalists in the spotlight
- Serbian fans show their support
- FAN VOTE: Your play of week seven
- Senegal's Fatou signs two-year deal with Azerbaijani club
- Brazil win Men’s U21 Pan Am Cup
- FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, Day 3: Peru enjoys perfect opening weekend, Kazakhstan also three-from-three
- FIVB Volleyball World League week 7: Atanasijevic hammers Serbia to five-set win
- Getting Social: FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships 2015 Day 4
- Bright future awaits multi-talented Nora
- Germany show nerves of steel to claim first, historic European Games gold
- Peru go 2-0 on Day 2 of World Grand Prix; Kenya fight back to beat Mexico
- Brazil, USA, Netherlands and Belgium win on road in World League
- Shimizu, Ishikawa nearly help Japan upset France
- Turkey’s women claim gold at first ever European Games
- Germany and Bulgaria in final at Baku 2015 European Games
- Cuba, Kazakhstan, Peru and Colombia celebrate opening day with wins in World Grand Prix
- Czech Republic, Iran, Serbia and Argentina produce home victories on Day 20
- FIVB World League Week 7 - As It Happened
- Video: Former and current players celebrate 15th year anniversary of Serbia's Olympic gold medal triumph
- Media Guide released for exciting FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix
- Turkey upset 4,500 home fans at European Games
- Slovaks join young players in Bratislava
- Holubec thanks fans for their support
- Draw maps out U21 World Championship
- FAN VOTE: Your play of week five
- Russia and USA meet in World League 'Match of the Week', live on YouTube
- Edgar leads Volleyroos in Group 1 challenge
- Kovac: "It will be very difficult to win"
- Group 3 travels to Taldykorgan for FIVB World Grand Prix opening weekend
- Poland to play Bulgaria in European Games semis, Germany take on Russia hoping to make amends for defeat in pool play
- Australia and Brazil not worried about fatigue
- Australia ready for improved World Grand Prix performance
- Men's U21 World Championship draw to take place in Tijuana
- Draw held in Argentina for U19 World Championship
- Finland know World League target
- World Grand Prix preview: Six-week, record-breaking spectacle kicks off in Mexico and Kazakhstan
- World League Week 7 Preview: France aim to equal Dutch record
- Poland, Serbia, Turkey and hosts Azerbaijan make European Games semis
- Australia brace for big showdown with Brazil in Sydney
- Montenegro lead the way in Group 3