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Belgium pocket first ticket to Men's World Championship third qualification round

Beligum's triple block - from left to right Hendrik Tuerlinckx, Pieter Verhees and Kevin Klinkenberg - stopping Romania's team captain Dan Borota on their way to a 3:1 home win that secured first place in Pool D

Luxembourg, May 26, 2013 – Though they still have to play Northern Ireland on Sunday, the home guys of Belgium did practically secure already on Saturday their first place in the final charts of Pool D so advancing directly to the third stage of the qualification process for the 2014 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship scheduled for early January. They did so by edging Romania 3:1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-15, and 25-21) in a game where Frank Depestele, Sam Deroo and Bram Van den Dries stood out for the home side.

In Pool A, after edging Azerbaijan on Friday, the hosts of Croatia scored on Saturday their second win at the first-round qualifier for the 2014 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship taking place this weekend at Dom odbojke Bojan Stranic in Zagreb. The home guys edged Bosnia and Herzegovina in straight sets (25-12, 25-19, and 25-16) thereby making sure they will finish at least second in the group and so seizing a spot for the second qualification round scheduled for October 2-6. On Sunday they will cross their ways with the Netherlands who on Saturday cruised past Azerbaijan in three straight sets (25-18, 25-17, and 25-14) to keep an immaculate record after two rounds of action.

Slovenia is on top of Pool B with six points after scoring its second victory in the 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championship qualification tournament taking place this weekend in Ljubljana. The home guys powered past Hungary in straight sets (25-20, 25-20, and 25-17) while Moldova – after causing a sensation on Friday by beating Hungary – had to admit defeat to Israel 1:3 (25-22, 21-25, 19-25, 18-25) in the second match of the day.

On Saturday the home team of Estonia perfectly continued its World Championship campaign by scoring a second consecutive win in the qualifier for the 2014 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship – Pool C taking place in Rakvere. Estonia needed only three sets to cruise past Denmark (25-15, 25-21, and 25-23) and secure at least its qualification for the second round. In the other match of the day Belarus beat Latvia in straight sets (26-24, 26-24, and 25-16) to climb up to the second place in the charts. On Sunday Estonia will be playing against their neighbors Latvia while Belarus will try to get its second win of the weekend against Denmark and so also a ticket to continue its World Championship adventure.

On Saturday Sweden needed five sets (25-17, 23-25, 25-21, 28-30, and 15-9) to edge their neighbors of Norway but with this result on Sunday the home heroes around superstar Marcus Nilsson will be playing for first place in Pool E and a ticket to make it directly to the third qualification round for the 2014 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship. Their rival there will be Greece that on Saturday easily disposed of Iceland in straight sets (25-8, 25-13, and 25-12) to score their second victory in the tournament. The loser of the clash opposing Sweden to Greece will continue its campaign via the second stage of the qualification process scheduled for October 2-6, 2013.

The hosts of the F.Y.R. of Macedonia and Ukraine scored on Saturday their second consecutive win in Skopje – venue of Pool F – thereby claiming their ticket to the second stage of the qualification process for the 2014 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship. Their clash coming up on Sunday will determine who finishes atop the charts and will enjoy the right to move directly to the third qualification round slated for January 2014. The Macedonians edged Montenegro in three straight sets (27-25, 25-20, and 25-20) as they did stick to the good tactics prepared by their Bulgarian-born head coach Nikolai Jeliazkov to stop the best players of Montenegro, namely Milos Culafic, Marko Bojic and Aleksandar Milivojevic. The home captain Nikola Gjorgiev paced his side with 20 points well supported by Gjoko Josifov and Risto Nikolov. Ukraine did also cruise to a straight win over Albania finishing their task in about one hour (25-16, 25-12, and 25-16).

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