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21/07/2017 23:16
Belgium make it three wins in a row before all-deciding matches with Germany and Estonia
2018 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Men

Kortrijk, Belgium, July 21, 2017. On Friday, Belgium’s Red Dragons added another triumph to their campaign on home soil as they beat Spain 3-0 to keep a perfect record in the World Championship qualifier they are contesting in Kortrijk. The Red Dragons now look forward to the all-deciding matches with Germany and Estonia coming up this weekend. Later in the evening, Germany beat Estonia 3-2 and as a result, Belgium are the only side with three wins in as many matches and the sole leader on top of the standing. The eventual winners of this single round-robin tournament will qualify to next year’s World Championship in Italy and Bulgaria.

Belarus vs. Slovakia


Slovakia and Belarus opened the programme of the third competition day in Kortrijk. Since both teams were still vying for their first victory, the match was an opportunity to avoid finishing last in the standing of the tournament. Slovakia eventually claimed a 3-0 victory (25-21, 26-24, 25-21).

Spain vs. Belgium


Spain hoped to surprise the Red Dragons as much as they had done when playing Germany on Wednesday. Even though Belgium started the match very concentrated, their performance was a little bit rough – and on the other side of the net, Sergio Noda Blanco and Augusto Renato Colito scored many points. Spain saved two set points but ended up losing the first set 25-27. After that, everything went just easy for Belgium towards a comprehensive 3-0 victory (27-25, 25-20, 25-16).

“Unfortunately, we made too many mistakes in the deciding moments,” said Spain setter Angel Trinidad. “I also have to admit that Belgium have many strong players, and especially Sam Deroo was excellent. We do not stand any more chances of qualifying to the World Championship but we have played some very good games here.”

On the other hand, the Belgian camp was all smiling after a third straight 3-0 victory. “It is especially important that we have won three matches without losing a set,” said setter Matthias Valkiers. “We did not waste any energy and are fresh for the most important matches coming up this weekend. We have a good team and we can make changes in almost every position without losing quality. We are now hoping for a long match between Germany and Estonia,” he laughed.

“We knew that Spain have a team of fighters and in the first set it was a bit difficult for us, but Sam Deroo gave us at every moment the confidence to follow the good ‘flow’ we have shown since practicing together last week,” said opposite Gert van Walle, the second best scorer of the Belgian team with 14 points.



Germany vs. Estonia

Estonia and Germany delivered a truly high-level and thrilling game to complete the programme of Day 3 in Kortrijk. It was a make-or-break match for Germany, since any loss would have resulted in missing qualification for next year’s World Championship for the bronze medal winners from the 2014 edition held in Poland.

Germany eventually claimed a 3-2 victory (25-21, 25-22, 21-25, 23-25, 15-11) to remain in contention for a spot to compete at next year’s Worlds in Italy and Bulgaria. Robert Täht helped Estonia keep the score close up to 19-all in the first set before Denys Kaliberda and Simon Hirsch secured a 25-21 win for Germany. Estonia claimed an early 6-3 lead in the second set, before the float serves by Lukas Kampa and good blocking by Kaliberda turned the score around, with Germany leading 16-11 at the second technical time-out. Estonia closed in with the help of many German mistakes but the German block and an ace by Hirsch eventually doubled the German lead in the match. Estonia, however, did not give up and they won set three with three points in a row by Ardo Kreek. They continued to set the tempo of the game also in the fourth set (16-12) but Hirsch, Ruben Schott and Tobias Krick made it a real thriller as Germany fought back to 23-23 before a kill block by Kristo Kollo sealed a 25-23 win for Estonia. The battle became quite physical in the tiebreak with many service mistakes on both sides before Germany emerged victorious at 15-11.

“Our level is still not high enough, but we are growing in this tournament. It is a pity that we made some mistakes at the important moments, so a tiebreak was not really necessary,” admitted Germany coach Andrea Giani. “But we fought until the end and tomorrow against Belgium we will fight again.”

Estonia setter Kert Toobal was not too disappointed with the loss of his team. “We came back from 0-2 against a strong German team, who was playing on a high level. Unfortunately, we lost, but I am satisfied with the attitude of the team. We kept fighting until the end, so we have no regrets today. As for Germany, this match was like live or die. The most important games are yet to come and only on Sunday evening we will know who will take the ticket to the World Championship.”

“This comeback was good for the self-confidence of the players,” concluded Estonia coach Gheorghe Cretu.

Click here for further info including detailed stats of the matches


News nr. 3 of 25
22/07/2017 23:21:00
Belgium and Estonia to fight for ticket to next year’s Worlds
20/07/2017 22:54:00
Belgium and Estonia deliver superb performances as Germany come back from Wednesday’s setback

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