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03/06/2014 14:31
Cyprus aims at confirming leader status in Small Countries Division
2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men

Limassol, Cyprus, June 3, 2014.  Cyprus embarks on a quest to extend a Small Countries Division winning streak that stretches back to 1996, as the Mediterranean island hosts SCD qualification Pool A of the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men this week in Limassol.  The home team takes on Andorra, the Faroe Islands and Northern Ireland in a bid for one of the two qualifying berths for next year’s Finals to be played in Luxembourg.

“Our goal is to finish the tournament here undefeated, confirming our status as the top team amongst the continent’s Small Countries,” said Cyprus’s head coach Dimitre Letchev.

Cyprus has won the gold medals in nine straight editions of the Small Countries Division competition, since 1996.  The last time Cyprus missed the top position on the podium was in 1994, when it finished third in the fourth edition of the competition, behind host San Marino and Monaco.

Andorra is expected to provide the strongest challenge to the hosts, although the landlocked nation of the Pyrenees did not take part in the last edition of the SCD in 2012.  Andorra boasts a silver medal from 2007 in Limassol and bronze from 2011 at home in Andorra la Vella.  The Faroe Islands have not missed a competition since they won their only medal, a bronze in 2004 in Luxembourg.  Northern Ireland first appeared on the SCD scene in 2004, but have not climbed above the fourth place gained in 2009 in Luxembourg.

The hosts of this qualification tournament enter the competition on the back of a 2014 FIVB World Championship qualification appearance in January in Opava against Bulgaria, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. This first ever World Championship experience for Cyprus has provided a unique boost for the team, well beyond the confines of the Small Countries Division.

Andorra is expected in Cyprus on Tuesday afternoon, with the Faroe Islands and Northern Ireland following on Wednesday.  The three-day competition at the Spyros Kyprianou sports center begins on Thursday, with the Faroe Islands taking on Andorra in the opening match at 17:00 local time, followed by Cyprus vs. Northern Ireland at 20:00.

Click here for more info on the Small Countries Division of the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men.

Photo: Angelos Alexiou and Anthimos Economides block a Dutch attack in the latest outing of Cyprus last January in Opava.

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