CEV: Belarus, Russia and Belgium complete #EuroVolleyU20M semi-final line-up01.10. 2020
Team Belarus made history on Thursday afternoon as through a 3-0 victory in their matchup with Germany, they qualified for the semis of #EuroVolleyU20M for the first time in history. Italy, despite ‘resting’ some of their top players, completed a clean sweep of their matches in Pool I – where they recorded five straight victories without dropping a single set. The reigning U19 world champions will be playing the runner-up of Pool II – Belarus – in the semis coming up on Saturday in Brno. Russia claimed the top spot in Pool II following their comprehensive victory over the Netherlands – who, along with Germany, will contest the classification matches for places 5-8 – to play Belgium in the semis.
France vs. Poland 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-19)
Even though Poland set the pace of the game for most of the first set, France came back from a 16-21 deficit to secure a 25-23 win. France controlled the game from start to end in the second and third sets, recording seven blocks by the end of the match. The best scorer for Les Bleus was Abdel-Aziz Doumbia with 18 points, while Michal Gierzot scored 15 times for Poland.
Marc Francastel, head coach of France: “We are happy with the victory, even though we did not play exceptionally well. We benefited from winning the first set, and after that, we started to play better. After yesterday’s match and loss against Italy, it feels very good to win today.”
Sebastian Pawlik, head coach of Poland: “I would like to congratulate France, since they did a good job. We did not play well today; unfortunately, we have some health and injury problems inside the team. We could not find the right way to play our game and that is why we lost.”
Italy completed a clean sweep of their matches in Pool I by recording a fifth 3-0 victory and finishing the group stage of the tournament without losing a single set. Serbia, on the other hand, after today’s loss, have to say goodbye to the tournament – as they fail to progress from the pool and contest at least the classification matches 5-8.
Boško Mačužic, head coach of Serbia: “This tournament was a very good learning experience for us. Our game is not good enough to be an equal opponent to these teams. In the future it will get better – at least I hope.”
Angiolino Frigoni, head coach of Italy: “It is true we have not lost any set yet but I think the difficult part of the championship is coming now. Today for some players who were a little bit tired, I decided they would get some rest but we have a second team that is good enough to achieve such a result too.”
Czech Republic vs. Belgium 0-3 (18-25, 19-25, 21-25)
The home side representing the Czech Republic knew already before this match that they would have to leave the tournament after completion of the pool stage – however, they still received much support from the fans watching from the stands of the Kurim sports hall. Unfortunately, it was not enough to win the match, although Premysl Obdrzalek’s players bravely fought for every ball. Belgium controlled the game from start to end to secure a 3-0 victory and a spot in the semis where they will be playing Pool II winners Russia. The Czechs, on the other hand, end the tournament on a record of five losses and no wins.
Premysl Obdrzalek, head coach of the Czech Republic: “I am happy that the boys did not relax in today’s match and fought for every ball, but Belgium was better and therefore won. Many thanks to the local fans and I am very glad that we chose to play in Kurim. The hall was always full and the spectators created a great atmosphere for us.”
Jiri Mikulenka, player of the Czech Republic: “Unfortunately, we were not successful in this tournament. In today’s match, Belgium confirmed their quality; we were quite good at times, but it was not enough even to take at least one set. Anyway, I have to say that the home atmosphere here in Kurim has been great all the time, so I would like to thank all the fans who came here to support us.”
Belarus vs. Germany 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-23)
Germany had lost any chance of reaching the semis with their loss to Russia on Wednesday. However, they looked motivated to put up a fight but Belarus, on the other side of the net, played an impeccable game. With their second victory in the pool, Belarus secured their spot in the semi-finals – achieving this feat for the first time in history. Germany, on the other hand, will contest the classification matches 5-8 along with the Netherlands and the teams finishing third and fourth in Pool I.
Dan Ilott, head coach of Germany: “Today we did not play our best game and struggled to find the rhythm. Belarus, on the other hand, played very well with their serve and they made it very difficult for us to score points. They played very well in attack as well and totally outplayed us tonight. Now we have to get ready for our next game. We have finished fourth in our group and now we will be playing against a team from the other pool. Because of the pandemic, we did not play any international games this year, so we really need to use this opportunity to learn and develop further.”
Sergei Trotski, head coach of Belarus: “I am so proud of my team tonight because it is the first time in history that Belarus makes it to the semis of the U20 tournament. We played on a very high level tonight and we showed some great actions.”
Russia put much pressure on the Dutch receivers from the start of the match, but they responded well, providing their spikers with the opportunity to score. The Netherlands had a small advantage for most of the time, but after reaching the 20-point mark, Russia changed gear and cruised to a 25-21 win. As for the remainder of the match, the Dutch defence and reception lacked quality and consistency. Russia, on the other hand, looked dominant and secured their third victory in as many matches in Pool II – and with that, first place in the group as well to stay in contention for the medals.
Mikhail Nikolaev, head coach of Russia: “I am satisfied with our performance tonight. We played better and stronger than in the previous games and we won with much confidence. Now we have to wait for the results from the other group and prepare a good game plan for the semis. If Belgium win their last game tonight, it is going to be very hard because we lost against them previously.”
Arnold van Ree, head coach of the Netherlands: “We almost controlled the game in the first set but then we made some simple mistakes and failed to push with our serve. After that, my team’s confidence went down and it was hard to play with Russia always leading by five to six points. Overall, I think we learned and improved compared with the match against Belarus, but this tournament is going fast and does not give you much time to learn. Now we have to wait for our opponent from the next group and we want to be successful in our upcoming games.”
www.cev.eu, photo: CEV