Finland joins final round for fourth consecutive time
2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men
Vantaa, Finland, September 15, 2012. Finland’s Volleyball family had much to celebrate on Saturday afternoon at Energia Areena in Vantaa as the local heroes downed Greece in straight sets (25-16, 25-17, and 25-14) to book their pass for the final round of the 2013 European Championship. This will be Finland’s fourth consecutive appearance in the event. The second place in the group will be at stake on Sunday with Montenegro and Greece being in contention for making it to the third and last qualification round.
“Our team played very well today and we showed also a great mental attitude. We attacked well but our defense was good as well” said Finland’s head coach Daniel Castellani. Finland will play Montenegro on Sunday with no pressure at all but the mentor says he will nevertheless line up his best players for the last match of the group. Finland’s setter Mikko Esko played superbly as he marshaled his offense line, with Olli Kunnari and Mikko Oivanen eventually top scoring with 16 and 15 points respectively. Finland out-blocked Greece 11:3, and only one player from the guests could finish in double digits, namely Mitar Tzourits with 15. “Finland did not leave us a chance in this match, their attacks were so fast that we could hardly position our block” stressed Greece’s head coach Alekos Leonis.
In the other match of the day Romania caused a surprise by beating Montenegro 3:2 (15-25, 27-25, 15-25, 25-20, and 15-8). Montenegro opened by quickly pocketing the first set but Romania fought back in set 2 before the score was leveled at 22. After missing three set balls, Romania ended the operations at 27-25. Montenegro restored their supremacy in set 3 but everything started from the scratch after Romania claimed the fourth and eventually stretched momentum to finish it off at the tie-break to claim their first win of the tournament. Marian Bala paced the winning side with 18 points while Aleksandar Milivojevic registered 20 for Montenegro.
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