Russia back on track as France upset Polish fans on second day of EuroVolley
Russia, on the other hand, was back to its usual standards and easily downed the Czech Republic in straight sets (25-22, 25-17, and 25-10) to display their real power and potential.
Slovakia and Turkey played on Saturday a game where a ticket to the Playoffs was at stake since it looks like Poland and France will most probably top the final standing in Pool B. Slovakia eventually fought their way back from two sets down to beat Turkey (18-25, 16-25, 25-20, 25-21, and 19-17) after their head coach Stefan Chrtiansky opted for some substitutions that changed the course of the game. Milan Bencz joined the game in the second set and he eventually turned into Slovakia’s match winner top scoring in the end with 22 points. Metin Toy and Emre Batur registered 22 apiece for Turkey in their losing effort. Slovakia stood out with their block (17 to 9). Later in the evening, as the ERGO Arena and its stands were filled up with 10,600 fans, France edged the home heroes of Poland (3:1; 25-22, 25-23, 20-25, and 25-20) to claim a spot in the second round of the 2013 VELUX EuroVolley.
“In my opinion this was the best game played by a French national team since years” said France head coach Laurent Tillie. “My team seems to have developed a very good form throughout the past summer. We have played great in defence and this helped us win tonight. We are happy with this victory but we have to forget everything as quickly as possible. We must be focused on tomorrow. It is a long tournament, so we have to take it one step after the other”.
On Saturday Italy prolonged their winning streak in prelim Pool A of the 2013 CEV VELUX Volleyball European Championship – Men edging Belarus 3:1 (21-25, 25-13, 25-21, and 25-17). After a relatively slow start, as they were still tired from Friday’s night game with Denmark, the guys mentored by head coach Mauro Berruto imposed their rule to keep an immaculate record in the group. Denmark’s fans could follow what was most probably the best performance ever by their heroes who played with glowing hearts and even had their chances to call for the tie-break before ultimately losing to Belgium 1:3 (25-23, 23-25, 16-25, and 26-28). On Sunday the Danes will have another chance to seize a ticket to the Playoffs as they take on Belarus.
Kristian Knudsen, captain of Denmark, said: “We have a bittersweet taste in our mouth after this match. On the one side I am very disappointed having lost a match where we had three chances of securing at least one point. But on the other hand I am so proud of the guys, their attitude and the high level of our performance. We played strong and smart and proved that we deserve to be in a European Championship. Now we have to erase this loss and focus 100 percent on the match against Belarus tomorrow”.
A dramatic game opened the program of the second day in Pool C; in the end Serbia got back on track after losing their first game to Slovenia edging the Netherlands in five sets (19-25, 18-25, 25-15, 25-17, and 15-12) packed with ups and downs on both sides of the net. The Netherlands owned sets 1 and 2 but Serbia pulled together to win 3-2 and their first two points in the tournament while the Netherlands got their first point. Later in the evening, Finland showed another great performance to edge Slovenia 3:1 (25-27, 25-23, 25-22, and 25-21) and take another three points thereby securing a spot in the next phase waiting for the last round of play on Sunday where the “Suomis” will play Serbia to determine the final standing in the group.
For more information about the 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley visit www.cev.lu as well as the official website www.eurovolley2013.dk