Finland joins Russia in the semis as runner-up in Pool II
2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Boys
Belgrade, Serbia, April 17, 2013. The team of Finland defeated Bulgaria in straight sets on the last competition day in Pool II and secured the second semi final spot at the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Boys, after Russia took the first one yesterday. France did not win a single set against Turkey in the first match in Belgrade today and left itself wide open to not making it to the next round at all. However, Bulgaria did not take advantage of this offer and will be traveling back home, leaving Turkey and France to battle in Laktaši (BIH) for the fifth place in the championship, for a ticket to the 2013 FIVB Youth Volleyball World Championship in Mexico or at least for a place in the 2013 European Youth Olympic Festival in the Netherlands. In the last match of the pool, having no impact on the traveling list for Laktaši, Russia was able to stay unbeaten as it defeated Serbia by 3-1, thus leaving the reigning champions and co-hosts without a single win in this tournament.
Click here for a comprehensive photo gallery
France vs. Turkey 0:3 (19-25, 18-25, 10-25)
In the opening match of the last day of competition in Pool II, Turkey crushed France 3:0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-10). Yasin Aydin and Ogbai Cansin Enaboifo of Turkey topped the scorers` chart with 11 points each, including 7 aces combined, while Stephen Boyer was the best scorer in the losing team with 8.
The teams were evenly matched throughout the initial stage of the first set, but then Turkey created a gap at 12-9 with a couple of good blocking plays, and preserved it until the second technical time-out (16-13). After the break, Turkey made a great effort in defense, reaching for almost every ball out there, and France struggled to score. Excellent blocking kill by Melih Siratca made it 25-19 and 1:0 in sets for the Turkish side.
Turkish players created all sorts of problems for the French receivers from the serving line in the second set. Patiently, the Turkish boys were creating a gap and by the second technical break they earned a three-point lead (16-13). France did not shine in attack, and their balls were often an easy prey for Turkey’s players. By the end of the set the French game plan completely fell apart and Turkey easily doubled the lead winning the second set by 25-18.
Turkey continued with a good defensive play and tricky serves in the third set as well. They got off to an early 8-1 lead and right from the start crushed any hope for the French in this match. It was a matter of routine for the Turkish youngsters to wrap this match up at 25-10 for the sweep in straight sets.
Ali Kazim Hidayetoglu, head coach of Turkey: "We let ourselves go in this match. We have many injured players and we are constantly under pressure, but my guys did a wonderful job and I am very happy."
Slimane Belmadi, head coach of France: “I am ashamed because my players were completely absent today. There is nothing more I can say about this match.”
Yigit Gülmezoglu, captain of Turkey: "I am very satisfied with this victory. Now we have to wait for the next match and see whether we go to the semifinals."
Luka Bašić, captain of France: "We are very sad, but today we did not play at all and we deserved to lose. We wanted to go to the semi finals, and now we have to battle for the place at the World Championship."
Finland vs. Bulgaria 3:0 (25-17, 25-22, 27-25)
In the second match of the day, Finland overpowered Bulgaria in straight sets 3:0 (25-17, 25-22, 27-25) and qualified to the semi finals, which is by far their best result at the CEV Youth Volleyball European Championships - Boys, as on the previous two occasions they finished eighth (1997) and twelfth (2011). Finland’s Sakari Mäkinen topped the scorers’ chart with 19 points, while Yani Georgiev was the best scorer in the losing team with 14.
Finland started the match knowing that they have a historic opportunity to qualify to the semi finals with the victory against Bulgaria. The Finns were very vigilant through the first stage of the initial set. They were slightly ahead, but Bulgaria kept the close distance. At the second technical time-out it was just a two-point lead for the Finnish team (16-14). However, after the break Finland used a couple of mistakes made by the Bulgarian players to seize control of the match and storm to a 25-17.
In the second set, Bulgaria put pressure on a stage-frightened Finns and got off to a 16-12 by the second technical break. However, after the pause, Finland started to play much better and Bulgaria could not respond to such a sudden change of pace by the Finnish side. Quickly, the Finns tied the score at 16-16, then turned it in their favor and never looked back. In the end, they wrapped it up at 25-22 for 2:0 in sets.
The biggest drama in the match was seen in the third set. Once again, Bulgaria took control over the scoreboard from the very beginning, but as the closing stage was approaching they were losing their focus, and the Finns reached the tie. The teams entered an exciting finish, and Finland was a little bit on the lucky side to score a precious victory at 27-25.
Pertti Honkanen, head coach of Finland: "We were working very hard back in Finland. It paid off perfectly! We sacrificed a lot to be here, but it was worth it. I am thrilled!"
Ivan Halachev, head coach of Bulgaria: ”I think this is our reality at the moment. We played as much as we could against some very strong teams. We participated at the European Championship and I am satisfied with this.“
Sakari Mäkinen, captain of Finland: “We played very good this whole tournament. We were steady, we played our game and I think we can compete with the best teams in the semi finals.”
Mihail Tsvetanov, captain of Bulgaria: "We could have played better, but in the end we are happy to have been here. We learned a lot from this experience.”
Serbia vs. Russia 1:3 (30-28, 16-25, 24-26, 26-28)
In the last match in Pool II, the departing European champions Serbia faced Russia. The only unbeaten team of the pool remained with a perfect record by defeating the co-hosts of the championship by 3:1 (28-30, 25-16, 26-24, 28-26). Russia’s Victor Poletaev topped the scorers’ chart with 28 points, including 4 blocks. The best ones in the losing side were Luka Velickovic and Miodrag Milutinov with 17 points each.
Before the start of the match, Jury Secretary of the European Championship Aloys Fischer from Switzerland presented Nenad Golijanin, First Vice President of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia, with a special CEV plaque for the successful organization of the tournament.
As there was nothing at stake in this game, both teams were fairly relaxed. The coaches used this opportunity to shuffle the cards a little bit and let some of the players from the bench to step in. In a friendly atmosphere, both sides were pretty loose. The fans in the stands could see some really nice moves by both teams, and they enjoyed it very much. However, the home side had an extra motive as they were playing for the honor and the first victory of the championship. Because of that, the first set went deeply into extra time. In the end, Serbia snatched it by 30-28.
In the second set Russia came back with a vengeance. They absolutely dominated throughout the whole time and deservedly equalized the score in sets winning by 25-16.
The third set was conducted in the same fashion as the first one. The teams were close from the beginning until the end, only this time Russia was a bit luckier in the end and won by 26-24 for 2:1 in sets.
The fourth set was all about Serbia. The home side put pressure on Russia right from the start, and that resulted in a convincing 16-9 lead at the second technical time-out. However, by the end of the set Russia managed to close in and reach the tie at 23-23. After an exciting finish, Russia’s strongest weapon, which is the impenetrable block, ended the competition for Serbia at 26-28.
Alexander Karikov, head coach of Russia: "My team was too relaxed today and I do not like that. On the other hand, Serbia looked very nice. I have to talk to my players, because we are a strong team and we are confident, but yet we have to prove it on the court as well."
Milan Djuricic, head coach of Serbia: "If we had played like this, things would have been different for sure. We missed our chances. Even today we could have won by 3:1, but we were a bit unlucky as well. That is it for us. As for Russia, I really do hope they win the championship and I wish them all the best in the final phase."
Maxim Troynin, blocker in the Russian team: "It was a very difficult match. We wanted to win, but Serbia played very well today. I think we were lucky to win this match. We have to think about the mistakes we made, and try to do a lot better in the semi finals."
Luka Velickovic, receiver in the Serbian team: "We were relaxed, especially in the first set, and that is why we won this part of the match. Later on, we became a little bit anxious and unfortunately we could not wrap it up."
All semi final and classification matches will be streamed live on LAOLA1.tv here.
Click here for more information, including schedule, results, statistics and standings.