Halle/Westphalia, Germany, September 11, 2013. Germany and Russia made their dreams come true by winning tonight’s quarterfinals in Halle/Westphalia. Russia swept Turkey in straight sets 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 before the local heroines from Germany celebrated a well-deserved straight-set win over Croatia (25-23, 25-23, 25-18).
In front of 6.300 delighted fans at Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle/Westphalia, the German “dream-girls” got closer to their dreams by sweeping Croatia in straight sets (25-23, 25-23, 25-18). Christiane Fürst was the best player for Germany with 16 points, including six blocks. Samanta Fabris scored 19 times for Croatia.
In the first set, the fans quickly recognized the Croatian strategy. The Croatian servers put a lot of pressure on Heike Beier. However, it was the German team that set the pace with captain Margareta Kozuch on fire (7 points). Germany extended their lead to 17-13. Samanta Fabris (6 points) brought Croatia back on track with an effective offensive game, but it was not good enough. The 6.300 fans saw a thrilling final phase of the first set that ended with a German comeback and an unforced error from Mia Jerkov at 23-25.
The team of head coach Giovanni Guidetti kept momentum at the start of the second set. Especially Margareta Kozuch and Maren Brinker put a lot of pressure on the Croatian defense. At the second technical time-out, Germany already led 16-11. Croatia tried to fire back with Samanta Fabris but lacked of precision as Croatia’s passers only had 36% successful receptions. However, the hosts needed five set balls to conclude at 25-23.
It was still a tough battle in the third set with both teams showing great fighting spirit. Germany led 16-15 at the second technical time-out. It seemed as the home crowd pushed their heroines beyond their limits. The Germans scored several points in a row to make it quickly 24-17. Christiane Fürst ended it for Germany to transform the Gerry Weber Stadium in a unique party hall.
Germany head coach Giovanni Guidetti: “I want to thank my team. It is a great honour to be the coach of such a great team. My players played with so much intensity. We are more than happy that we reached our first goal to go to Berlin. We hope we will find the same atmosphere in Berlin as we enjoyed here in Halle/Westphalia. We would like to continue our winning streak.”
Germany captain Margareta Kozuch: “I have no words. Croatia is a team that can start a comeback at every moment. In the second set, they changed their system. We needed some time to adapt. I am proud as we worked pretty well in defense.”
Croatia head coach Igor Lovrinov: “The best team won. Germany played almost perfectly. I have not seen such a performance before. Congratulations to Germany.”
Croatia captain Sanja Popovic: “It was a tough game for us. We knew that small things would make the difference. Germany was the better team and played very well. We tried our best, but it was not enough today.”
Russia send Turkey home
In today’s first quarterfinal of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women, Russia defeated Turkey in a one-way match 3:0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-19), claiming their spot for the final four in Berlin. In front of 5.900 fans, the Russian team convinced with 42% successful attacks and 16 block points.
Turkey jumped out to an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout. Neslihan Darnel was unstoppable at the net and quickly booked three points in the beginning of the first set. However, a remarkable six-point run by the Russian team turned the tables at 10-8. At that moment of the set, Turkey struggled in defense and hardly found a way to overcome the strong Russian block. Anastasia Shlyakhovaya ended the first set with an ace. Russia made the difference with better passing and eight block winners compared to four for Turkey.
The fans still saw a hard-fought duel at the start of the second set (7-7). Turkey tried to control the game with more speed and Neslihan on fire (7 points in the second set). Russia answered with solid triple-blocks. The Turkish game plan worked well with the team of Massimo Barbolini opening a three-point lead a 17-14. However, it was not good enough. Russia acted very effectively at the net to turn around the score in their favour at 24-23. Another block winner gave Russia a well-deserved 2:0 set lead.
In the third set, Turkey quickly set the pace and gained an early 10-4 lead. Nevertheless, the crowd saw exactly the same course of the game as in the previous set. Russia came back strongly with excellent block and attack play (18-17). Especially Tatiana Kosheleva showed her talent several times in a row. At 24-19, Nataliya Obmochaeva booked the final four ticket for Russia with a blistering winner, bouncing the Russian team in heaven.
Turkey head coach Massimo Barbolini: “Russia deserved today’s victory. I´m disappointed. We didn't play as we had planned. Good luck for the Russian team in Berlin, they can make it to the gold medal match.”
Turkey captain Neslihan Darnel: “Russia played very well tonight. It was a very close game until the middle of the sets. In the crucial phases, we committed too many mistakes. It was a good experience for us to play against a team like Russia, but of course it was our goal to go to Berlin.”
Russia head coach Yuriy Marichev: “I would like to say thank you to my players. They implemented my plan almost perfectly. They key to success was our good preparation. I saw the determination in the eyes of my players today.”
Russia captain Ekaterina Pankova: “I´m happy. Turkey is a difficult team to play with. Before the match, we worked very hard for this victory.”
The competition continues on Friday with the four best teams battling for the medals.
Russia v Serbia
The winner of the CEV Volleyball European Championship will qualify for the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup featuring a total of six teams per gender with the hosts Japan being joined by the continental winners from Asia, Europe, NORCECA and South America with an additional country selected by the FIVB.
Germany v Belgium
The two best-ranked teams of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women as well as organizer Italy will qualify for the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship.
The five best-ranked teams of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women as well as the organizers from Belgium and the Netherlands will qualify for the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women.
Final Ranking of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women
9. The Netherlands
10. The Czech Republic
CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women
2011 in Italy/Serbia: Serbia (gold), Germany (silver), Turkey (bronze)
Records of the last five editions
2009 in Poland: Italy (gold), the Netherlands (silver), Poland (bronze)
2007 in Belgium/Luxembourg: Italy (gold), Serbia (silver), Russia (bronze)
2005 in Croatia: Poland (gold), Italy (silver), Russia (bronze)
2003 in Turkey: Poland (gold), Turkey (silver), Germany (bronze)
CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women
1. Russia (17/4/3)
All-time medal table (Gold/Silver/Bronze)
2. Germany (2/5/3) *including GDR
3. Poland (2/4/5)
4. Italy (2/2/2)
5. The Czech Republic (1/4/4)
6. The Netherlands (1/2/1)
7. Serbia (1/1/1)
8. Bulgaria (1/0/2)
9. Croatia (0/3/0)
10. Hungary (0/1/3)
11. Turkey (0/1/1)
12. Romania (0/0/1)
12. Ukraine (0/0/1).
For further information visit www.eurovolley2013.org and www.cev.lu for a detailed match schedule of the final four.