Latvia causes major upset by beating Spain, France completes clean run
2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men
Szeged, Hungary, September 8, 2012. In the last day of action of the European qualifier taking place in Szeged, Latvia caused a real surprise by beating Spain 3:2 (25-18, 20-25, 22-25, 25-18, and 15-8) to finish second in the group before the second round robin that is scheduled for next week in Riga.
Latvia opened by claiming the first set (25-18) and even though the score remained close for most of the time, Spain could go for the provisional 1:1 after 29 minutes of intense play. Spain stretched that good momentum also to set 3 (25-22) going up 2:1 in sets but anchored by Lauris Iecelnieks and Ansis Medenis, Latvia fought their way back and by exploiting some mistakes by Spain, could go for the 2:2. Latvia eventually dominated the deciding tie-break (15-8) and could finalize a splendid comeback to claim a victory only a few could have reckoned with.
Later in the afternoon France completed a clean sweep of their matches in Szeged by besting the local heroes in straight sets (25-20, 25-15, and 25-16) to finish first in the group. Although France was the clear-cut favorite of the match, the score initially remained very close (7:7) and Hungary even went up by two points, before France regained control of the operations to go for the final 25-20. Hungary caught a good start also in set 2 going up 13:12 but the serving turn of Marien Moreau – 13 consecutive points – demolished Hungary’s defense and paved the way for the provisional 2:0 (25.15). France opened strong in set 3 (4:0) but Hungary drew level at 10 before the “Bleus” could cash their third consecutive win after comfortably cruising to the final 25-16.
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