Czechs re-assert their credentials for final four spot
2013 CEV Volleyball European League - Men
Barcelona, Spain, June 22, 2013. The Czech Republic established its position of dominance in pool B of 2013 CEV Volleyball European League, after achieving a convincing victory over Montenegro by 3:1 (16-21, 21-14, 21-14 and 21-17) in the second day of competition of the tournament held this weekend in Barcelona. Furthermore, Spain suffered to beat Hungary 3:2 (21-17, 21-19, 19-21, 20-22 and 15-13) in front of its own audience in a disputed match.
The race for a spot in the final four lived a relevant episode this Saturday in Barcelona. The victory of pool-leader Czech Republic over the main contender for the top position of the group, Montenegro, confirmed the authority of the Czech squad. The Czech Republic won 3:1 (16-21, 21-14, 21-14 and 21-17) in a match marked by the spectacular comeback of the team trained by Stewart Bernard. Montenegro starred in an effective first set, but the Czech Republic used its efficient blocking and serving system to subdue its opponents in the three following periods, in a convincing demonstration of power.
“You have to fight very hard to win every match in this pool”, acknowledged Czech Republic head coach, Stewart Bernard; “Our serve was the key point for us today; our good work from the serving line, in combination with our blocks, lead us to victory”.
“The Czech Republic played a great match today”, pointed out the head coach of Montenegro, Nikola Matijasevic; “it was our worst match in this European League, we were not fresh enough and the Czech players made a big difference with their blocks. It was absolutely logical for us to lose. I just hope that we will be able to accept this defeat because tomorrow we have another important match that we cannot lose” he added.
In the second match of the day, Spain achieved its second victory in CEV European League 2013, after beating Hungary 3:2 (21-17, 21-19, 19-21, 20-22 and 15-13). The Spaniards were able to overcome the disappointment of losing in the tie-breaker against Montenegro in the first match of the weekend and could bring a victory to the fans that filled up the tribunes of Palau DEsports Olimpics sports hall in Barcelona in yet another five-setter match. After two sets dominated by the locals, Hungary showed great spirit coming back in the game and forcing the tie-break. In the sudden death, Spain took use of the support of the local audience in order to close the set 15-13 and to obtain its second victory in the tournament.
“It was a hard-fought victory for us; we performed very well in the beginning of the match, controlling our rivals from either technical and tactical stand points but in the third set we allowed them to come back from behind, and ultimately the game had be solved in the tie-break”, said Spanish head coach, Fernando Muñoz, “we were able to improve our reception and serve and our consistency helped us win the fifth set”.
“I would like to stress how important it was for us today the fact that we never gave up, we always continued fighting. After the first two sets, we were able to recover in the subsequent periods, but in the fifth set Spain played more precise and that’s why we lost”, stressed the head coach of Hungary, György Demeter.
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