Denmark downs Israel at home, Spain needs five sets to defeat Greece
2012 CEV Volleyball European League - Men
Gentofte, Denmark, June 17, 2012. Spain added another victory to its winning streak in the 2012 CEV Volleyball European League – Men, but this time it needed a tie-break to subordinate Greece – 3:2 (25-18, 25-21, 20-25, 17-25, 15-13). The home team of this fourth leg of play in Pool A, Denmark, finally pleased the crowd on the stands with an impressive 3:1 (25-22, 25-19, 18-25, 25-17) win over Israel.
Israel was in front 8-6 by the first technical time-out. They increased the lead to 10-6 and Danish head coach Fred Sturm called a time-out. It helped and the Danish team leveled the score 10-10 in a great duel where both the Danish captain Kristian Knudsen and libero Peter Næsborg Schøler were on the floor to prevent the ball from touching. Still even at 14-14 the Danish team grabbed a 2-point lead which it held all the way to 21-21. Israel took the lead 22-21 but then the Danish team showed good mental strength and closed the set 25-22.
The Danish team came out for the second set still on top and were in front 8-5 at the first technical time-out. A Danish 5-point lead 10-5 held for quite some time before Israel leveled the set at 17-17. The Danish blocks were great and Mads Ditlevsen and Flemming Olufsen helped Denmark go to the front by 2 points – 21-19. Denmark won the set 25-19.
Denmark lost concentration in the third set which Israel led from the beginning to the end. Israel was in front 8-6 at the first technical time-out and from there they only increased their lead. Israel showed some good volleyball and was in front 16-10 by the second technical time-out. After being moving up 21-12 the Israeli relaxed a little but the set win was not in danger – 25-18.
The Danish team found its concentration again in the forth set. Yet another great block from Flemming Olufsen and Mads Ditlevsen sent Denmark to the first technical time-out with an 8-3 lead. Denmark still had a 5-point lead by the second technical time-out - 16-11. Israel had a glimpse of hope with three points in a row making it 19-15, but it was too late - Denmark won the set 25-17 and the game 3:1.
A happy Danish head coach Fred Sturm said: “Our blocks were really great the entire game and that means a lot. Like the previous rounds in Spain and Israel we play our best in the last match. I think it is because the team gets the small details in place and finds the rhythm that is needed to win. The matches here in the European League are a good preparation towards the European Volleyball Championship next year. The longer the guys are together, the better they get to know each other.”
“This victory means a lot for us. The entire team gave a good performance today. We lost concentration in the third set and then Israel showed how good a volleyball team they are. But we fought back in the game with good blocks and good morale. I am happy and have a good feeling before the last round in Slovakia next week. We have learned to play on an international level which means the world to us before the European Volleyball Championships in Denmark next year,” Flemming Olufsen added.
In the second match of the day Spain faced Greece. And after a 3-2 win Spain now has 24 points from 9 matches in Pool A. Spain is still undefeated but needed a tie-break to down Greece in today’s match. In the first set Spain had an 8-5 lead at the first technical time-out. Greece kept close through the second technical time-out where Spain was in front 16-14. From here Spain just increased to 21-15 eventually winning the set 25-18.
Spain took the lead from the beginning of the second set leading 8-5 at the first technical time-out. Mitar Tzourits served great to 10-13 and smashed to 11-15 but the Spanish team was in front 16-11 at the second technical time-out. With the set win never really at stake Spain more or less cruised to the final 25-21.
Greece still with will in the third set came in front 5-4 but Spain had the lead 8-6 at the first technical time-out. Greece refused to back down and got even at 10-10 and then Spain took a time-out. Greece came in front 11-10 and had their first two-point lead at 14-12. It was already a three-point gap at the second technical time-out and when the score was 17-13 Spain used another time-out. It did not help and Greece won the set by 25-20.
The fourth set seemed to be an affair were the target besides winning was to shout the most. Both team shouted louder than normal after winning a duel in the set. Greece almost shouted louder than the music in Kildeskovshallen when they made the point to 8-5 going to the first technical time-out. At 9-5 to Greece, Spain took a time-out. Spanish Iban Perez reduced the Greek lead to 9-11. 13-15 became 13-17 in favor of Greece before Spain took another time-out. Greece increased to 19-13 before Spain answered to 15-19. The Greeks showed strong mentality and good volleyball as they won the set 25-17 and leveled the match 2:2.
Who would have thought that a tie-break was needed between number 1 and number 5 in the pool. Spain built a 4-2 lead and Greece took a time-out. The Spaniards led 8-4 when the two teams changed sides. Another Greek time-out was called at a Spanish 9-5 lead. Both teams showed great volleyball in several duels as Spain kept the margin through 11-7. A long Spanish serve made it 11-8. Great Greek fighting made it 11-9 and Spain took a time-out. How close can it be – Greece leveled the game at 11-11 and then again at 13-13. A Greek serve in the net gave Spain a match-point that was cashed in for a final 15-13.
It was a relieved Spanish head coach who analyzed the game afterwards: “Finally all the teams are playing good volleyball. Greece made some good tactical changes today which gave us problems. I am happy with the team. They gave a good performance and fought hard. We changed the tactic a little going in to the tie-break. We were more aggressive in our serves and our blocks were solid. It was a nice match and gives us a lot too work with further on in the tournament,” Fernando Muñoz Benitez said.
Greece has played its last match in this year’s European League finishing last in Pool A with 9 points.
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