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Draw sets tone for volleyball party in the Low Countries

 
Two volleyball stars Virginie De Carne (left) and Peter Blangé (right) were on stage on Wednesday afternoon at the City Hall of Antwerp for the Drawing of Lots of the Final Round of the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women
 
Antwerp, Belgium, November 12, 2014 - The Drawing of Lots for the Final Round of the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women to be co-hosted by the Netherlands and Belgium was organised on Wednesday at the City Hall of Antwerp, one of the four cities hosting the event from September 26 to October 4.  Sixteen teams will compete for the European title.

The draw was attended by CEV President André Meyer, CEV Senior Vice President Aleksandar Boricic, CEV Vice President and Jury President Jan Hronek, as well as by the chairmen of the hosting national federations, Mr Hans Nieukerke (NED) and Mr Willy Bruninx (BEL). The Final Round of the Women’s European Championship is returning to the Netherlands for the first time since 1995 when the ‘Oranjes’ fully exploited home advantage to seize their only title to date. The competition will stop in the cities of Antwerp, Apeldoorn, Eindhoven and Rotterdam, with the latter playing host to semis and finals through October 3-4 at Ahoy. It is also the third time the Women’s European Championship will be held in Belgium after previous editions were hosted in that country back in 1987 and in 2007 (together with Luxembourg).

Before the start of the Drawing of Lots, CEV President André Meyer said: “Today’s ceremony marks the beginning of the European Championship even though there are still some months to go before action starts. I am confident that this Championship will be a huge success since the Netherlands and Belgium are known for being two sports nations, with an extremely knowledgeable and passionate crowd. I would like to thank the organisers and the host cities for the excellent work they have done so far and wish everybody a lot of success in their preparations for the great volleyball show we will celebrate in about 10 months.”

The 16 participating teams – 13 are already known and the last three are to be determined in May next year following completion of the third and last stage of qualifications – were drawn into four different Pools, with the host countries – Belgium and the Netherlands – plus Russia and Serbia – chosen as top seeds by the organisers – previously placed into one of the four preliminary groups. The teams were drawn by Dutch Volleyball legend and Netherlands Tournament Director Peter Blangé, a 1996 Olympic gold medallist and former European champion with the Dutch national team, and Belgium’s most successful volleyball player of all times, Virginie De Carne, who will be the Tournament Director for the matches in Antwerp. The matches in the pool phase will take place from September 26-28.

The results of the Drawing of Lots read as follows:

Pool A in Apeldoorn: Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Winner France/Slovenia
Pool B in Antwerp: Belgium, Turkey, Hungary, Winner Azerbaijan/Slovakia
Pool C in Rotterdam: Russia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Winner Ukraine/Belarus
Pool D in Eindhoven: Serbia, Germany, Romania, Czech Republic

The teams classified first in each Preliminary Pool advance directly to the quarterfinal matches, whereas the second and third-placed teams are moved to the Playoff matches, whose eventual winners will then progress on to the quarterfinals. The winners of the quarterfinal matches will then continue their quest for European glory in the semis before the new ‘queens’ of European Volleyball are crowned at Ahoy in Rotterdam on October 4.

Russia are the defending champions following the gold medal they claimed last year in Berlin, edging hosts Germany in the final; in 2013, Belgium claimed a historic bronze medal – their only podium finish to date – after seeing off 2011 European champions Serbia.




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