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03/01/2018 19:52
Four teams vie for a ticket to #EuroVolleyU18M Finals in Martina Franca
2018 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship - Men

Martina Franca, Italy, January 3, 2018. The Italian city of Martina Franca will be playing host from Thursday to Saturday to one of seven qualifiers coming up for the 2018 edition of the CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship – Men. Hosts Italy will take to the court along with the national teams of Denmark, Switzerland and Finland to vie for a ticket to the Final Round scheduled for 7 to 15 April 2018 and due to take place in Zlin (Czech Republic) and Puchov (Slovakia). Two matches a day will take place at PalaWojtyla at 4.00 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. respectively.

Volleyball fans will be able to follow a live streaming of all matches via the official YouTube channel of the Italian Volleyball Federation here.

Aapo Rantanen, head coach of Finland: “We had two training matches against Latvia after Christmas. We started our preparations on December 27 and played these matches on December 28 and 29. We just had some practice after that, preparing for the basic things and we flew here early. I hope our team will enjoy playing in this tournament, trying to play the best we can until the end.”

Thomas Skifter Bertelsen, head coach of Denmark: “We had trials just before Christmas where we selected the twelve players who are here today. Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we had a training camp where we played some friendly matches against Sweden. That is the way we prepared and did it in the best way we could. Our team consists of young players who have not experienced many international competitions before. Therefore, this will be a great experience for us. The opening match against Italy who are the reigning European champions in this age group will be a huge thing for us. Our expectations going into this tournament? Italy may be too strong for us, but we hope we can tease them a little bit, put some pressure on them and help build our own game. We hope to play two good matches against Finland first and Switzerland and see if we can go for the second spot in this group and wait to see if this is enough to qualify to the European Championship. We will give it a try.”

Vincenzo Fanizza, Italy head coach: “We are eager to get started with this tournament. We have been preparing very hard and feel extremely focussed. My players have done a great job this far. They are committed and ready to do their best. They are looking forward to taking to the court and they aim at getting good results. Playing on home soil makes us proud and it will boost our fighting spirit to do our utmost. The opening match with Denmark is the most important one and it should help us start this event in the best way. I hope we will secure a win, the entire team and the staff are ready to get there.”

Marco Foelmli, head coach of Switzerland: “We are still defining the level of our team. We do not have much international experience as a team yet, we just took part in the 8 Nations Tournament [the WEVZA U17 Boys’ Championship] held in France a week ago. Despite that, we have been working hard and tried to get a good level. We are not at the same high standard as Italy, but we will do our best.”

Click here for further info including a detailed match programme

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