Czech Republic’s men claim first ticket to Final Round
2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men
Pinto, Spain, May 24, 2014. The Czech Republic is the very first team to claim – via the second round of qualifications – a spot in the Finals of the 2015 CEV European Volleyball Championship – Men. The Czech squad beat Spain 3:1 (25-14, 25-23, 15-25, 25-23) in the exciting final match of the qualification tournament held in the Spanish city of Pinto, thus joining the teams already qualified for the Final Round coming up next year in Bulgaria and Italy. Spain, on the other hand, moves on to the third and last stage of the qualification process which is scheduled for May next year. Also, in the first match of the final day in Pinto, Ukraine beat Norway 3:1 (24-26, 25-20, 25-22, 25-19) to settle for third place in Pool D.
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Norway vs. Ukraine 1:3 (26-24, 20-25, 22-25, 19-25)
Ukraine finished the tournament in a creditable third position, after beating Norway in a disputed first match of the day. Following the pattern of the previous games, the Norwegian squad presented some tough resistance and seemed close to upset their rivals but ultimately was unable to stop the Ukrainian efficiency. The squad trained by Igor Zyablitsev was helped by the powerful spikes killed by Oleksandr Statsenko. The efficiency by the offensive player demonstrated in his 28 points in the match helped Ukraine overcome the Scandinavians who were able to take the first set of the match. The Ukrainian blocking system and Statsenko’s attacks led Ukraine to beat Norway in the following three sets, thereby sealing the final 3:1 victory.
“We played a very good first set and then we had some options to win. We have proved to be able to play at this level and considering that Norway is a team full of young and promising players, this is a good start for us. We will work hard for the next tournament”, said Norway’s head coach, Scott Olsen.
“The important thing of this match for us was that we managed to keep up the spirits of the team, as it did not have many implications, results-wise. It was hard for us to get into the game but we could find more consistency after the first set,” said the Ukrainian head coach, Igor Zyablitsev.
Czech Republic vs. Spain 3:1 (25-14, 25-23, 15-25, 25-23)
The Czech Republic won the coveted ticket to the Final Round of the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Men after a spectacular demonstration of power in the heart-breaking final match of the tournament in Pinto. The Czechs beat the local team of Spain by 3:1 and upset the home crowd, proving too strong for the hosts of the competition. The Czech Republic took advantage of the Spanish anxiety to deliver a good result and used the pressure of the situation in its favor as the squad offered an impeccable performance during the first two sets. The mighty blocking system imposed by the visiting squad tied the Spanish options in this phase of the match, thus contributing an impressive 25-14 in the first period and 25-23 in the second.
At this point, the weight of the responsibility of playing at home ground appeared in local team and Spain produced a notable comeback in the third period, based on the contribution by Gustavo Delgado and Sergio Noda. In an intense fourth set, the Czech players were able to keep a cool head and the excellent contribution of the serve and block system by Zdenek Smejkal’s men ended up breaking the Spanish illusions. The Czech Republic closed the set 25-23 to claim a spot in the Final Round.
“We knew that the Czech Republic was a strong team; we had to be very focused and despite that we played well over these two weekends, it is a shame that we let go the qualification at home,” said Spanish head coach, Fernando Muñoz.
“We cannot state how happy we are with the qualification for the Final Round. It was a very difficult game for us and for Spain from the psychological standpoint but we are exultant for being the winners at the end”, stated an elated Czech mentor, Zdenek Smejkal.