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Russia and Italy play for gold at 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley

The players of Italy national team celebrate their victory over Bulgaria whereby they go the right to challenge Russia in the final match of the 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley
Copenhagen, Denmark, September 28, 2013 – Italy will play Russia on Sunday at 6 pm in the gold medal match of the 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley at Parken stadium in Copenhagen. Serbia and Bulgaria will play for bronze earlier in the afternoon (3 pm CET). By winning their respective semis Italy and Russia did also qualify for the FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship Poland 2014.

After a disastrous start with Bulgaria dominating the scene in the opening set, once more – as it had previously done with Belarus, the Netherlands, and Finland – Italy fought their way back to sweep the following three sets (19-25, 25-22, 25-15, and 25-22) to get the right to vie for gold on the last day of the competition. With this victory Italy did also qualify for the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship taking place in Poland and on Sunday will try to improve on the silver medal they claimed two years ago in Vienna where they lost the final match to Serbia. Youngster Luca Vettori delivered a superb performance top scoring in the end with 21 points, one more than Bulgaria most prolific player Tsvetan Sokolov.

“Today we once again started slowly as it happened against the Netherlands and Finland and today maybe it was the most awful set we had in the tournament, but I have no words anymore to tell about how proud I am of my players” said Italy coach Mauro Berruto. “Once again we had to change the starting six but the players have a marvelous attitude about that. I think we played our best three sets in the tournament from the second set today and that is what we can pack in our bags for tomorrow. We arrive here through difficulties but playing our three best sets today. We are not the favorites and we play against a huge team. Russia has everything to win and we have to know that we have to resist, resist and resist again and I think we are ready to give it a try”.

The 2012 Olympic champions of Russia lived up to their reputation and edged Serbia 3:1 (25-19, 24-26, 25-23, and 25-15) to make it to the gold medal match of the 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 6 pm. A large crowd got together at Parken stadium for the first semifinal where Russia was able to impose their rule right from the start of the game but had to stand the always great fighting spirit of a young Serbian side that fought their way back to win the second set after a very tight race. Serbia was close to do the same also in the third set but this time Russia was able to keep cool and once they had gone for the 2:1, the Olympic champions did never look back to dominate the scene in the fourth set (25-15) and get the right to play for gold on Sunday. With this result, Russia did also qualify for the final round of the FIVB Volleyball World Championships coming up next year in Poland.

Russia coach Andrey Voronkov said: “I think we played a good match today and our main concern was to deal with Atanasijevic and his serves and spikes. We were also concerned about our serve and reception. I am very glad that we played in this special stadium with a nice atmosphere and that we can decide ourselves if we are crowned champions. It was a good experience, thanks to the supporters and spectators and even though it was unusual to play at a football stadium it was a good match”.

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