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04/01/2014 23:00
Croatia to take on the Netherlands in Rovinj on the way to 2014 Worlds
2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Women

Rovinj, Croatia, January 4, 2014. On Sunday Croatia and the Netherlands will contribute a very exciting last act of the World Champs qualifier – Pool L in Rovinj after they scored on Saturday their second consecutive victory. Croatia beat France 3:1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-15, and 25-10) coming back strong after losing the second set while the “Oranjes” cruised to their second straight-set victory as they easily routed Hungary in straight sets (25-15, 25-19, and 25-11). The final showdown coming up on Sunday will determine who finishes first and second in the Pool and will qualify to the Final Round of the 2014 FIVB World Champs.   

The hosts of Croatia delighted 1,400 fans at the Gimnasium sports hall in Rovinj as they beat France 3:1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-15, and 25-10) to claim their second victory in the tournament. On Sunday they will play the Netherlands for first place in the Pool and a ticket to the Final Round of the World Champs. After losing in straight sets to the “Oranjes” on Friday, France looked very motivated and the “Bleues” started out strong (6:4) but the hosts were able to respond with good blocking to pocket the opening set (25-19). However, the course of the game changed completely in the second set where France took advantage of Croatia’s shaky reception to cruise to a speedy 25-18 to draw the score in sets. Croatia got back on track in the third and fourth sets where the hosts did not leave any chance to the players around head coach Mauricio Paes (25-15, 25-10).
“We needed full support of this great audience to score this victory” said Croatia’s mentor Angelo Vercesi, who like Paes also hails from Brazil. “I am very happy with this victory though the way the second set unfolded makes me worry a bit. We do not have to give the initiative to our opponents and we always have to play our own game at our own pace” he added.  
“We knew very well what to expect from this match. The Croatian players showed tonight who the better side is at this moment. One good set was not enough to seize the night” said France head coach Mauricio Paes. “The strong serving by Croatia was the key to their success.”

After edging France in straight sets on Friday, the Netherlands claimed on Saturday their second victory of the tournament routing Hungary in three sets (25-15, 25-19, and 25-11) to open the program of the second competition day at the Gimnasium hall in Rovinj. The difference between these teams was evident right from the start of the game with the Netherlands leading the way by three-four points at the first technical time-out of each set. The “Oranjes” were on a class of their own and their good performance in attacking as well as from the service line paved the way for another straight victory.
“We knew that the Netherlands have improved a lot recently” said Hungary head coach Laszlo Hollosy. “We have a young team whose members still have a lot to learn. I think we played quite well in the first and second set and I am particularly proud of our performance in the second set. After that we lacked concentration and energy.”
“We played a very good match today making fewer mistakes than yesterday with France. Our blocks and service were much better than what Hungary could show in these fundamentals. As we came here, I was hoping for two victories after two days and here we are. Now we are ready for the big match with Croatia” commented Dutch mentor Gido Vermeulen.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches

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