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05/01/2013 22:00
Slovakia and Poland one step closer to final round ticket
2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Boys

Nitra, Slovakia, January 5, 2013. Slovakia and Poland are still unbeaten at the qualifying tournament for the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Boys taking place through this weekend in Nitra. On Saturday the home team beat Portugal in straight sets (25-16, 25-14, and 25-18) while Poland edged Bulgaria (3:0; 25-21, 25-11, and 25-14), another of the pre-favorites in the tournament. In the other match of the day Israel got past England in three straight sets (25-22, 25-12, and 25-18).
In the opening match of Saturday’s session Israel cruised past against England in straight sets to take its first points in the tournament. England is still without a point. “We are happy with the win; it is good for our players. I think it was easy for us, because the English team served very weak, had no block and it was easy for us to attack. Tomorrow we will play against an incredibly strong Poland, but I hope we can beat Portugal in the last match of the tournament” said the head coach of team Israel Jacob Herchko. “I expected a little more from my team. We started nervous and we made a lot of easy mistakes and we didn’t follow our game plan. I feel that we are improving, but we need a lot of training and hard work” added the mentor of team England Rogerio Ponticelli. Iliya Goldrin from Israel was the best scorer of the match with 19 points.  

In the second match of the day the home team of Slovakia stunned Portugal in straight sets (25-16, 25-14, and 25-18) to prolong its invincibility. On the other side Portugal lost a chance to win one of two tickets to make it to the final round as they are still without a point. “I am happy that we have won so easy and we could rest players from the starting line-up at the end of the match, because we will have a very important match tomorrow against Bulgaria. We had good serve and block and this was the key to our success” said Slovakian head coach Miroslav Palgut. “Slovakia played very strong in serving and my players couldn’t follow the game plan we had prepared and they were afraid. There was no fight, no passion and with this attitude it is not possible to win. I told them in the dressing room that if we play like we did today, tomorrow we will lose against England. With all respect to England, I think we are better, but if we play like we did today, we will lose” added the head coach of team Portugal Ricardo Rocha. Simon Krajcovic from Slovakia was the best scorer of the match with 14 points.  

The highlight of the day was the battle between two strong teams, namely Poland and Bulgaria. Bulgaria went up 15:12 in the first set, but then the Polish players started to play in great fashion and claimed the game in straight sets (25-21, 25-11, and 25-14). The boys from Poland are very close to win a ticket to Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, the hosts of the final round: in order to achieve this goal they need to beat Israel on Sunday. “We can say that we are one step away from reaching our goal, but we have to beat Israel tomorrow and it will be not easy. We played very good today in service and Bulgaria had problems in reception. The first set was close, but then we dominated the scene. We didn’t expect that it would be so easy” said the head coach of team Poland Wieslaw Czaja. “We knew that Poland is the favorite in this group. Their players are centralized in one place and they play all the year together and it was expected that they would come here with a strong team. We tried to do our best, but it didn’t work, so I decided to rest some players for the deciding game against Slovakia coming up tomorrow” added the head coach of team Bulgaria Ivan Halachev. Polish spiker Rafal Szymura was the best scorer with 15 points.  

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