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Russian giants add yet another title to their collection by winning gold at 2013 EuroVolley

The players of Russia national team celebrate their gold medal after beating Italy 3-1 in the final match of the 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley at Parken stadium in Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark, September 29, 2013 – On Sunday Russia emulated what Serbia had done two years ago with the men’s national team following their countrywomen who had won European gold two weeks ago in Berlin to win the final match of the 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley at Parken stadium. After losing their first game in preliminary pool D to Germany, Russia had a clean run all the way to yet another gold medal as they beat Italy 3:1 (25-20, 25-22, 21-25, and 25-17) to follow up on their previous success at the 2012 London Olympics and at this year’s World League Finals. That was also the first title for Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union that had finished first in their last appearance under this denomination back in 1991.

With this success, Russia also got the right to represent Europe at the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup scheduled for this coming November in Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan.

Mauro Berruto, head coach of Italy, said after the game: “We had two good teams in action today but when Russia plays like that they are very difficult to control and they started the match in a very impressive way with their serves and blocks. When Russia plays like that they are the best team in the world. They had a small moment where they gave us an opportunity and we got it in the set that we won, but we must say that they deserved the win and we have to understand where the most important difference is so that we can try to fill it. We are very proud and this is the fourth medal I win but still we have to try to get the color that we wish for.”

Russian libero Aexey Verbov: “It’s an unbelievable feeling and we are just happy, having fun and enjoying it. It is very difficult to go to this level and we gave everything for this medal. We don’t sleep, we don’t eat and we work hard. The last four months we have all been together and worked very hard and I’m so lucky that we have come to this level. We are just happy that we did it. We were very nervous because everyone expected this medal from us and today I think we beat Russia not Italy today, but ourselves today. After we lost to Germany we have been through six very difficult matches and step by step we did it, every ball and every match is hard. For three months I have not eaten junk food to be in my maximum condition, so now I just want to eat everything and I will go to McDonald's tomorrow!”

After a very slow start in the tournament, Serbia completed their comeback to win bronze at Parken stadium on the last day of the 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley. The young group captained by Dragan Stankovic did cruise to a straight victory (25-22, 32-30, and 27-25) over Bulgaria to follow up on the gold medal some members of the team had won two years ago in Vienna. Serbia won their tenth medal at the EuroVolley – by counting also those claimed by the former Yugoslavia and by the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2005 – to confirm its position among the real heavyweights of the sport in Europe. Aleksandar Atanasijevic – the real inheritor of former team captain Ivan Miljkovic – was once more the best player winning the duel with Bulgaria opposite Tsvetan Sokolov before these guys get to cross their ways once more later this season as they are both set to compete in the Italian national league.

Aleksandar Atanasijevic said: “We are very happy to win a medal again. We won the gold two years ago but this is a new team with a lot of young players and this is our maximum at the moment. This bronze medal is for us like gold and we played against a very strong Bulgarian team with maybe the best opposite in the world in Sokolov, so we knew that we had to give more 100 % if we wanted to win this match at the end we can be happy. Yesterday Russia was better so we have no reason to be sad and we go back to Serbia with a bronze medal and a smile on our faces”.

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