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20/05/2017 22:29
Ukraine beat Serbia to book ticket to U21 Men’s World Championship
2017 FIVB U21 Men Volleyball World Championship - European Qualification

Luxembourg, May 20, 2017. On Saturday night, Ukraine secured their qualification to the 2017 FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship after recording their third straight win in as many matches in the European qualifier – Pool E held in Požarevac, Serbia. The silver medallists from the 2016 U20 Men’s European Championship beat hosts Serbia 3-1 (26-24, 25-12, 18-25, 25-22) to book a ticket to the Czech Republic where the World Championship will be taking place in late June. In Pool F, hosts Germany and Poland will be fighting for the sole spot remaining to make it to the Worlds in a much-awaited matchup coming up on Sunday.

Pool E in Požarevac (SRB)

The start of the ‘final’ featuring hosts Serbia and Ukraine went Ukraine’s way as they furiously gained several points of advantage and maintained their lead up to 20-15, when Serbia started to wake up. First, the home side recovered three points (18-20), and then pushing it hard once again reached the tie at 22-22. However, Serbia could not complete the turnaround and Ukraine used their second set point to take the first set at 26-24.

Ukraine continued in the same way throughout the second set, leading 6-2, 11-4, 18-8, and ultimately 25-12. The European Vice-Champions were full of confidence, while Serbia could not find any answer to their game. Serbia found the right rhythm in the third set and thru the second technical timeout the home side was up by seven points (16-9). However, Ukraine came close to just two points of deficit with a 5-0 run (14-16). Serbia maintained two to four points of advantage in these moments. After reaching the score of 20-18, the home side quickly scored five points in a row and wrapped it up at 25-18. In the fourth set, Ukraine once again imposed their rhythm and went up 7-4. Serbia were struggling as their rivals created a gap of five points at the second technical time-out (16-11). The home side did their best, came close to just two points of deficit (19-21), but that was not enough. Ukraine deservedly won the third set at 25-22 – and with it the ticket to the World Championship. Boris Buša of Serbia top scored in the match with 16 points.

“We proved our quality today, we performed well and I am very satisfied with my team. We deserved to win, but it was not easy,” said Mykola Pasazhin, head coach of Ukraine.

“I am proud of my players, they played against the European Vice-Champions and they stood up to them. Unfortunately, it was not enough. Still, I will remember this generation of very talented players,” said Vladimir Vasović, head coach of Serbia.

Earlier in the afternoon, France booked their first win at the qualifying tournament in Požarevac edging Bulgaria on the last competition day 3-2 (25-22, 20-25, 14-25, 25-21, 15-11) after 111 minutes of play. In a match deprived of competitive importance, both teams entered the court completely relaxed and showed a very attractive game. Bulgaria was on the verge of winning the match as they were leading 2-1 in sets, but France woke up and started to play a lot better in the final two sets, turning the score around and wrapping it up in the fifth for a narrow victory and third place in the final standings. Thibaut Thoral of France paced the winning side with 21 points.

“We wanted to show that we are a good team and that we play good Volleyball. This was the last tournament for this generation of players and I wish them all the best in the future,” said Jocelyn Trillon, head coach of France.

Pool F in Berlin (GER)

Germany still stand a chance of making it to this year’s World Championship following their hard-fought 3-1 victory (25-22, 31-29, 18-25, 25-22) over Belgium. Germany started out a bit nervously but slowly found their rhythm with Matti Binder sealing a 25-22 win in the first set. Belgium had a five-point lead in the second set but did not hold on to it – and Germany ultimately won the second set as well. Throughout the third set the team of head coach Kris Eyckmans did a better job. With the help of Thomas Konings, who top scored in the end with 28 points, Belgium rallied to a 25-18 win. The German national team, however, found their way back into the match and emerged victorious from a thrilling fourth set. By the score of 22-22, Germany scored two points in a row and with a perfect block, the hosts sealed their 3-1 victory to challenge Poland on Sunday for the sole ticket available to make it to this year’s World Championship.

Thomas Konings, player of Belgium: “We had a chance to win against Germany in two sets, but we did not use it. The second and fourth sets were close up to 20-all but at that stage we made some mistakes and did not use our chances. That was the critical point. If we had won those sets, we would have won the match as well.”
Kris Eyckmans, Belgium coach: “You can see from the stats that these two teams played at the same level. We had plenty of opportunities in the second set, which we did not use and in the end we lost the match.”

Egor Bogachev, player of Germany: “Today it was crucial that the team was really fighting, and it does not matter how well everything went. Today I had a bad day, but the team pushed me. That was an important victory. Tomorrow we cannot make so many mistakes, especially myself. The reception has to be more stable and then we have to see what is possible against Poland.”
Johan Verstappen, Germany coach: “As I said before the match, the team with the better, more solid defence was going to win, and that is exactly what happened. The first set was incredible and we won the second, because we successfully made it through the long rallies. During the third set, we were a little tired, especially mentally. However, we fought our way back into the match. I am proud of the team, they did a good job.”

The odds-on favourites from Poland continue their march towards the World Championships in the Czech Republic. The team of head coach Sebastian Pawlik claimed their second victory in as many matches they have contested in Berlin routing Latvia 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-22). Right from the start, the physically more powerful Polish team put their mark on the game, showing good actions in defence and attack as well. The Polish team – which has not lost a match in two years – could finalise most of the long rallies in their favour but the Latvian team around head coach Boriss Kolcins never lost sight of the possible victory and excelled with some strong serves themselves. Top scorer of the match was the Polish player Tomasz Fornal who recorded 15 points for his team. The best Latvian player was Kristaps Šmits with seven points.

On Sunday, starting at 3 pm local time, the German team will face the Polish squad in a direct duel for a ticket to the Worlds. Latvia’s last match of this tournament will be against Belgium at 6 pm.

Sebastian Pawlik, Poland coach: “Concerning what happened in the third set, we lost our concentration. We thought the match was already over.”
Jakub Ziobrowski, player of Poland: “For tomorrow we don’t need any extra motivation. We are always focussed on the next game and tomorrow against Germany it will be the crucial match of this tournament.”

Boriss Kolcins, Latvia coach: “It is hard to play against Poland. It is one of the top teams in Europe. We can just gain experience from this kind of matches. Some of our players are extremely young and with this team, we look forward to the future. That is why we need the experience from this kind of matches.”
Edvins Skruderis, player of Latvia: “It was a pretty hard match for us. For us it was important to defend well, in order not to fall behind against Poland. Their serves are extremely strong and they just play incredibly. During the third set, we did a good job, but we could have been better throughout the entire game. However, we knew before that our chances to win against Poland were extremely low. That is why we are not too disappointed.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches

News nr. 2 of 11
21/05/2017 20:46:00
Poland claim classy match with Germany to book ticket to U21 Men’s Worlds
19/05/2017 22:56:00
Ukraine and Serbia to fight for ticket to U21 Men’s World Championship

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