Croatia and the Netherlands pocket another two tickets to Women’s World Champs
2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Women
Rovinj, Croatia, January 5, 2014. It was the perfect way to end a memorable Volleyball weekend at the Gimnasium sports hall in Rovinj as Croatia edged the Netherlands after a breath-taking thriller (3:2; 25-18, 25-23, 22-25, 22-25, and 16-14) to top the charts in Pool L and qualify to the Final Round of the 2014 FIVB World Championship. Actually, the “Oranjes” also got that much desired ticket for – even before the end of this game – they knew they would anyway be one of the two second-placed teams with the best score across all Pools that are also set to travel to Italy in late September.
Croatia started out very strong winning the first and second set playing very well in defense as well as behind the service line. However, the Netherlands were able to come back in the third and fourth improving on all fundamentals eventually calling for the tie-break. The fifth set turned into a display of world-class Volleyball from both teams with Croatia having the upper hand at 16-14 before all players started celebrating their qualification for the World Champs.
“In the fourth set I was told that regardless of the result of this game we were anyway qualified for the World Championship” says Dutch head coach Gido Vermeulen. “However, I did not inform my players until the fifth set. Croatia played well in the first and second while we were able to display some good Volleyball in the third and fourth. I am not happy with our defeat but nevertheless very pleased with our qualification to the Worlds.”
“It is just fantastic! We scored a big victory in front of our fans and we qualified to the World Championship! I knew I had made the right decision when I accepted the proposal to coach the Croatian national team” said an enthusiastic Angelo Vercesi, head coach of Croatia.
In a match that was not going to have any influence on the race for a ticket to the World Champs, Hungary finished the tournament in Rovinj with a surprising come-from-behind victory over France (3:2; 12-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-23, and 15-4). France dominated the scene as expected in the first and second sets but suddenly the players of Hungary got back their self-confidence and made it a very close game. As they realized they had a chance to finish the tournament with a victory, nothing could stop them anymore. The major sensation followed in the tie-break where Hungary moved up 12:2 and finished it off at 15-4.
“Of course this is a surprising victory for us” said Hungary head coach Laszlo Hollosy. “We have a very young team and we managed to beat the team that had finished in eighth place at the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship. My players did not believe in their chances to seize the day and so we did not perform that good in the first and second sets. However, after I stopped giving instructions and my assistant took over the leading role, our tactics worked. We started to play the way we should have done right from the start and we finally won.”
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