Spain and Turkey qualify for semis, Bulgaria relegated to classification matches
2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship - Men
Randers, Denmark, August 29, 2012. As the coaches predicted before the beginning of the tournament everything was still open in Pool II before the last day. Bulgaria, Spain and Turkey were all in position to book a ticket for the semi-finals in Poland, so one team had to be the joker and not make it. In the first match of the day Pool leaders Spain faced Bulgaria that was ranked second with one round still to go. Spain cemented their first place in the group by downing Bulgaria in straight sets (25-16, 25-23, and 25-20) to qualify for the semis as the first-ranked team of Pool II. Afterwards, Turkey cruised to a 3-1 win over Greece to be finally ranked second in the group, and this result - combined with the 3-1 win of Germany against Denmark - sends Greece home and sees Germany make it to the next phase to play the classification matches 5-8 together with Bulgaria, plus the third and fourth ranked teams of Pool I that will come to a close on Thursday.
In the first set of their match with Bulgaria, Spain took the lead 8:5 at the first technical time-out and 16:10 by the second. After four exhausting days with top level Volleyball the tension in Skyline Arena was not as high as in yesterday’s matches. Both teams seemed a bit tired and if Spain yesterday had an easy 3-0 win against Denmark, Bulgaria on the other hand was coming off a tough tie-breaker against Turkey. This was reflected in the first set that Spain more or less controlled from the start up to the end (25-16).
Two of the best opposite players in this tournament, Spain’s Andres J. Villena and Bulgaria’s Ivan Ivanov, again proved their qualities in this match making respectively 23 and 11 points. The pace of the match rose in the second set, where the Bulgarian team led 8:7 by the first technical time-out. A great serving series by Spain’s wing-spiker Gerard Osorio gave the Spanish team the lead 11:8. Bulgaria fought back and took the lead by one point (16:15) at the second technical time-out. After this Spain sharpened their game and won the second set 25-23.
Yesterday Bulgaria was down 0-2 in sets against Turkey, fought back and won the match 3-2. Could they do the same against Spain today? Not really as Bulgaria was down 7:8 by the first technical timeout and 13:16 by the second. Spain was too tough an opponent and deservedly won the set 25-20 and the match 3-0.
With the result Bulgaria is still in second place in the table and ready for the semi-finals, but Turkey can steal this position if they win against Greece later today.
Spain’s head coach Ricardo Maldonado: “We played very well today. We played relaxed. We made it difficult for Bulgaria with strong serves and good blocks. I had expected it to be a more difficult match today with more fight from the Bulgarian team. I am glad we have qualified to the next phase in Poland. Now we have to wait for the results in the other pool and then we see what happens. When we play well, we are a strong team to play against”.
Opposite Andres J. Villena: “We were very calm and quiet today because we were already qualified for the semi-finals. The performance today was some of the best Volleyball we have played this far in the tournament,” added opposite Andres J. Villena.
Much was at stake in combination with the penultimate match of the prelims in Randers. As Bulgaria had lost in straight sets to Spain, Turkey could go past the Bulgarian team in the charts and claim the last spot for the semis with a 3:0 or 3:1 win against Greece. With this motivation in their minds Turkey was unstoppable and won the match 3:1 (25-20, 25-18, 18-25, 25-22).
The teams were all even in the beginning of the first set. Turkey led 8:7 at the first technical time-out. From here the Turkish team increased their lead to 16:9 by the second. The Turks seemed much focused with good reception, strong attacks and solid blocks. Throughout the set they delivered a great performance and won it 25-20.
It was like Turkey was playing at home ground with a lot of Turkish supporters on the tribune in Skyline Arena giving great support to their team. The waterproof blocks from the tough Turks continued in the second set and gave them an 8:5 lead by the first technical time-out and 16:12 by the second. Turkey’s opposite Metin Toy put the Greek’s finger strength to the test many times during the set and the match making 11 points. Turkey won the second set 25-18.
Greece was much stronger in the third set leading 8:6 at the first technical time-out and 16:13 by the second. Behind 14:18 Turkey’s head coach Ali Kazim Hidayetoglu called a time-out trying to turn the set over in Turkey’s favor. It did not work as planned and behind 14:20 Ali Kazim Hidayetoglu called another break. No way back in this set for Turkey, Greece won it 25-18.
The intensity rose in the fourth set. Turkey took the lead 8:4 by the first technical time-out with some strong attacks. The Turkish constellation of two or more of their two meter guys Toy, Sahin, Günes, Gökgöz and Senol in the block made Greece have a hard time finding a way through and Turkey led 16:11 by the second technical time-out. Though the set got close (24:22) Turkey kept cool and won the fourth set 25-22 and the match 3-1.
With three points Turkey goes past Bulgaria in the table and claims the second and last spot for the semifinals 1-4.
Turkey’s head coach Ali Kazim Hidayetoglu was a happy and relieved man after the match: “This is our first time in a semi-final ever. Now I hope that we can win a medal. Everything is good at this moment. The team showed good discipline and they stuck to our perfect game plan. Greece has shown high level of Volleyball throughout the tournament, but today we were in good control”. Turkey’s opposite Metin Toy was almost speechless after the victory: “I am so happy. I have nothing to say, I am just so happy”.
As Turkey had downed Greece in the second match of the day in Randers, Germany had the opportunity to go pass Greece in the table and proceeding to Poland. To do this Germany had to down Denmark at least 3-1. The highly motivated German team did the job and won 3-1 (25-12, 25-19, 22-25, and 25-14).
It was all even in the beginning of the first set were Germany took the lead 8:6 at the first technical time-out: from here the German diesel machine changed gear and Germany increased their lead to 16:9 by the second technical time-out. The German blocks were tight and their attacks hard and precise and the Danish team could not prevent the German 25-12 set win.
The Danish team stepped up their game in the second set. Though Germany took five points in a row and was leading 8:5 by the first technical time-out, Denmark leveled the set at 11:11 and led 16:15 by the second technical time-out. Then Germany found the rhythm they had in the first set and with an eminent serving pressure they went to the front (21-17) and closed the second set 25-19.
Denmark had the lead (8:7) at the first technical time-out in the third set. Danish middle-blocker Thomas Kainamura Pedersen showed strong attacking skills and made a good deal of points for the home team in Skyline Arena. Again today the arena was well visited and the spectators could see the Danish team go to the second technical time-out in front 16:15. Though it became close (23:22) Denmark doubled their numbers of won their second set in the tournament (25-22).
Germany had a clear 8:2 lead by the first technical time-out and 16:7 by the second in set 4. Denmark could not cope with the German serving pressure and Germany cruised their way to the set win 25-14 and to the final 3-1.
The result sends Germany to the playoffs in Poland which logically pleased the German head coach Ulf Quell: “It was a strange situation before the match because we knew we had to win the match if we wanted to book the last ticket to Poland. That made it difficult for us. I am very glad we won. We played some good Volleyball. The players kept the concentration and focus. Denmark played very well in the third set which we lost. But we found our focus again and played better in the fourth set”.
Also Germany’s wing-spiker Yannick Harms, who made 16 points today including the last point of the match, was happy with the result: “I am very happy and very proud. It is a big result for us to qualify for Poland. I am happy that the team will experience that. Denmark has some really good players who I think we will see a lot more in the future”.
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