Finland and Portugal score wins on opening day in Osijek
2012 Olympic Games - European Qualification
Osijek, Croatia, November 22, 2011. Finland and Portugal lived up to the expectations and claimed the opening matches played on Tuesday for the Olympic pre-qualifier that is taking place in Osijek, Croatia. Finland bested the Netherlands 3:1 (25-23, 19-25, 25-19, 25-19) while Portugal edged Ukraine in straight sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-23).
“It is important that we started this tournament with a win. Anyway we can and shall play better than we did. We will have a very tough match tomorrow against the hosts of Croatia” said Finland mentor Daniel Castellani. “We lost the second set as the Dutch guys started serving very well” he added. Finland hit back in set 3 and 4 with Mikko Oivanen finally top scoring with 22 points, well supported by Olli Kunnari (11) and Antti Siltala (8). Three Dutch players ended in double digits, namely Niels Klapwijk (16), Robert Horstink (14) and Rob Bontje (12).
Although Ukraine opened with a massive 6:1 lead in the first set, Portugal quickly leveled the count and then dominated the scene in the second match on schedule in Osijek. “We have a young side and this result does not come as a surprise to me” commented Ukrainian coach Yuri Filipov. Marco Ferreira scored 16 points for Portugal, with Flavio Rodolfo Cruz and André Lopes adding 12 and 9 respectively; Ievgen Kapaiev paced Ukraine with 9.