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05/01/2013 11:00
Second defeat for Czech boys as Italy wins clash of titans with France
2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Boys

Brno, Czech Republic, January 4, 2013. Italy and France contributed the highlight of the day in Brno as these sides clashed on Friday for the second day of the tournament whereby two teams will eventually qualify for the final round of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship scheduled for April 12-21 in Laktasi (BIH) and Beograd (SRB).
In what was actually their debut in the competition, Italy edged the neighbors from France with the score of 3:1 (25-19, 27-29, 25-18, and 30-28). Everyone was waiting for a demonstration of high-class Volleyball and so it was, with Italy opening strong to claim the first set (25-19) before France got back on track after seizing set 2 via a tremendous effort down the final stretch (27-29). Italy did a good job in the third set to move the count to 2:1 and could ultimately celebrate its first win in the tournament after France missed out on three opportunities to go for the tie-break. Italy’s Tiziano Mazzone topped the charts of the best scorers with a massive haul of 25 points.
“France had showed excellent Volleyball in their debut against the Czech Republic, so we are very happy with the result of this match” said Italy’s mentor Andrea Tomasini. “It was not easy and the road to the final round remains long since this tournament features a series of strong teams”.
“It was important to start the tournament with a good result and I think it adds more satisfaction that we did so by edging a strong French team. We are a strong group and I am proud of being the captain of this team which has got the right skills and potential to be successful” added Italy’s team leader Sebastiano Milan (pictured).
“I am very disappointed because we had a total of six set balls and we eventually silvered only one, but this is Volleyball. If you can’t exploit such opportunities, you will inevitably end up losing the game” said France’s head coach Slimane Belmadi.


To round out Friday’s program the home heroes of the Czech Republic suffered their second defeat, as Belarus cruised past at the end of a real marathon (3:2; 25-9, 20-25, 21-25, 25-16, and 15-7). With two defeats after two rounds of play, the chances for the Czechs to make it to the final round look already compromised especially as they will have to play Italy on Monday for the very last act of the tournament. The Czechs caught a disastrous start with Belarus claiming the first set after only 21 minutes (25-9); however, the home guys – fired by their fans – stormed back in set 2 and 3 before they again lost control of the operations and Belarus could prolong the match to the tie-break. After a good start (5:5), the Czechs felt the pressure and they could eventually score only one more point while Belarus cruised away to claim their first win in the competition.
“It was a very tough and long match, we are tired but happy” said Belarusian Radzivon Miskevich. “After winning the first set so easily, we knew that the Czechs were certainly going to fight their way back. This eventually turned into reality but we did not lose composure and our motivation was still there, so we played a good fourth set and we eventually continued with that same quality to win also the tie-break”.
“After losing the first set, we played really well and quite aggressively re-opening the game but we lost control in the tie-break where we made a terrific number of unforced errors” explained Czech wing-spiker Donovan Dzavoronok.
“Before the start of this game we had agreed upon going for a straight victory, so by losing at the tie-break in the end we are missing two points” said Czech mentor Tomas John after the game. “It is simply too bad that we could not impose our tempo in the fourth set but we are also the youngest team in the tournament and this was to be felt during the tie-break where my guys were nervous and lacked consistency”.  

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