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12/05/2014 19:00
Portugal’s libero Ivo Casas relies on home advantage to make European Championship Finals
2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men

Porto, Portugal, May 12, 2014. Portugal’s young libero Ivo Casas, 21, is confident that his team can make the Final Round of the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Men via the second stage of the qualification process which will get underway later this week.
“We have very high expectations for the upcoming tournament and our sole goal is to make the Final Round of the European Championship,” he says. “I believe we do stand a chance to achieve this goal. Even though I do not want to underestimate the other teams we are about to play, I think that Finland will be our toughest competitor in this race for a spot in the Finals. We know them very well and we have played them in a few different occasions. Last year we split victories in the FIVB World League but this time I believe that we stand a fair chance to beat them and get that much desired ticket to the Final Round.”

The first of two round-robin tournaments is scheduled for this coming week at Vila do Conde: “It feels great to play the first tournament at home,” Casas explains. “If our fans support us the same way they did with our U20 national team when they played their European qualifier last April at Castelo de Maia, they will help us a lot. They will also put some extra pressure on our opponents,” says the libero that this season won Portugal’s national cup with CASTELO DA MAIA. “I do not know the Austrian team that well because they have some new players on the roster and I do not know if they are in good shape or not. However, since we play Austria first, the opening match of a tournament is always tricky and can have a huge impact on your overall performance. We need to see how the team will handle this first challenge,” he concludes. Beside Austria and Finland, Portugal will also play the Republic of Moldova that just won the first-round qualifier in Luxembourg City.

After the home tournament in Vila do Conde, Portugal will travel to Vantaa, Finland, for the second round-robin tournament. The team topping the charts at the end of these two rounds will claim a ticket to the Final Round scheduled for next year in Bulgaria and Italy.

Click here for more info including a detailed match programme

For those who understand Portuguese a video interview with Ivo Casas is available here

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