Finland and Slovenia cross their ways in final match of Olympic pre-qualifier
2012 Olympic Games - European Qualification
Osijek, Croatia, November 25, 2011. Slovenia and Finland are the finalists of the Olympic pre-qualification tournament taking place in Osijek and on Saturday they will be battling to book a ticket to the Continental round scheduled for May 2012 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Slovenia edged the hosts of Croatia 3:2 (22-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-11, 15-8) on Friday while Finland got past Portugal in straight sets (25-21, 25-21, 25-20). The final will be a remake of the match these two sides played a couple of months ago at the European Championship where Finland had the upper hand with the score of 3:2.
Croatia dictated the tempo of the game moving up 2:1 in sets but Slovenia displayed a great performance in set 4 to regain full control of the match that was played with 3’000 spectators in attendance. “We were too tired after playing five sets against the Netherlands on Thursday and we totally ran out of fuel in the tie-break” said local head coach Radovan Malevic. Igor Omrcen paced Croatia with 23 points while Slovenia distributed evenly with Mitja Gasparini totaling 15, well supported by Alen Pajenk with 14 and Tine Urnaut (13). In the second semifinal Finland easily disposed of Portugal, with Mikko Oivanen scoring 14 points, while Antti Siltala and his brother Matti chipped in with 8 and 6 respectively. Flavio Rodolfo Cruz paced Portugal with 9.