Cyprus sweeps through Pool G to make it to the third round of World Championship qualification
2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Men
Limassol, Cyprus, June 8, 2013. Limassol, Cyprus, June 8, 2013. The men’s national team of Cyprus finished unbeaten on top of Pool G of the first round of European qualification for the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Men and made it to the final phase of the continental qualification procedure – the third round. On the last competition day Scotland shut out San Marino to keep its hopes alive, but then the home team overcame Luxembourg in straight sets and rightfully claimed the first place.
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San Marino vs. Scotland 0:3 (17-25, 22-25, 22-25)
Scotland shut out San Marino, but needed to wait for the result of the following match, Luxembourg vs. Cyprus, to find out its final ranking in the pool. But the victory came only after a harrowing third set, in which Scotland had to fight back from 3-12 to retain a clean slate and keep its hopes alive of even the first place in the pool. Scotland was the better team in all skills except serving and Paul Glissov emerged as top scorer of the match with 19 points. Matteo Zonzini was once again most prolific for San Marino with 10 points.
Following an easy first set, Scotland allowed San Marino some breathing space in the second set. But eventually the Scots broke away after the 20th point. In the third, with a couple of substitutes coming in off the corner, Scotland seemed disoriented and with exceptional fighting spirit San Marino took a wide lead from the beginning. Inch by inch, however, the Scots did fight back and for the first time tied the score at 20-20 to go on and win the match.
Simon Loftus, head coach of Scotland: "I do not know what to say. The attitude of San Marino was fantastic and we were really nervous. We are not very often in such situations, but eventually, with the experience of Mark McGivern, we pulled through."
Luxembourg vs. Cyprus 0:3 (18-25, 17-25, 23-25)
Cyprus swept Luxembourg aside in straight sets to finish undefeated and first in the pool and qualify to the Third Round of European qualification for the World Championship. Gabriel Georgiou once more emerged as top scorer of the match, with 21 points. Arnaud Maroldt was the usual best scorer for Luxembourg with 18 points.
Cyprus”blocked” its way into winning the first two sets with an impressive 11 block-points (five of which by setter Anthimos Economides), which was actually all they needed to clinch the sole qualifying position of the pool. Then the home team relaxed somewhat and allowed Luxembourg to take the lead in the score in the third set. Following the second technical time-out, Cyprus closed in to tie the score for at 17-17 and with Luxembourg still leading by two at 20-22 the home team rallied for four consecutive points to reach match point at 24-22. Luxembourg pulled back a side-out, but outside hitter Achilleas Petrakides set the record straight with a final spike that finished the match.
Kostas Delikostas, head coach of Cyprus: "The technical element that gave us the victory today was our block. Our main goal was the first two sets and after winning them we let our hair down a bit, but eventually we pulled together to win the match."
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