Happy end for the Czechs as Austria misses out on ticket for third round
2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men
Ostrava, Czech Republic, September 16, 2012. With the Czech Republic having booked their ticket for the final round of the 2013 European Championship already on Saturday, much attention was devoted to the fight for the second place. A surprise materialized as the Czechs beat Croatia in straight sets (25-15, 25-21, and 25-19) but still the side around Igor Omrcen finished second in Pool C since Austria lost 2:3 to the F.Y.R. of Macedonia earlier in the afternoon (21-25, 25-17, 25-15, 21-25, and 13-15).
The Czechs wanted to bid farewell to their fans with a positive result and hence they played their best and rapidly cruised to a convincing 25-15 in their match with Croatia. The guests went up 8:7 in set 2 but with David Konecny on fire, the Czechs fought back and moved to the front (19:16) with the last rally being finalized by Karel Linz for the provisional 2:0 (25-21).
Croatia did not play with the regular starting six in set 3 but this apparently helped as the score remained close up to 13 all. Two aces by Konecny contributed a Czech lead by the second technical time-out and the hosts did not slow down, with the first match ball being cashed by giant Jan Stokr (25-19).
“We are very happy with the attendance registered today and I think we paid back with some good Volleyball, the best advertising for the sport here in Ostrava” said home captain Ondrej Hudecek.
“This tournament was excellently organized and two injuries did not allow us to be competitive in the matches played here in the Czech Republic” said Croatian star Igor Omrcen. “I hope we can make it to the final round of the European Championship next May”.
In order to finish second in the group, Austria did not have to wait for the result of the Czechs in their match with Croatia but was rather “obliged” to beat the F.Y.R. of Macedonia. This did not turn into reality as Macedonia started with the right spirit (25-21), Austria responded by claiming the next two sets (25-17 and 25-15) and even though they were glancing at the finish line, the guys mentored by Michael Warm lost the next (21-25) and the match was stretched to the tie-break. There a close race unfolded before FYROM could finish it off at 15-13, thereby crashing the hopes of Austria to make it to the third and last qualification round.
“We started well but then we made too many mistakes in the next two sets. In the fourth we played once again our best and we had some luck in the tie-break because sometimes you end up by losing so tight matches” said FYROM head coach Aleksandar Tasevski.
“We are very disappointed because to finish second in the group would have been a sensation. We could not finalize our quest in the fourth set and even though our opponents had no chance to make it to the next round, they fought bravely, were a bit relaxed and eventually brought it home” stated Austria’s mentor Michael Warm.
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