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22/08/2018 09:13
Twelve #EuroVolleyM matches set to take us one step closer
2019 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men

Luxembourg, August 22, 2018.  Men's teams from across Europe are in action later today all focused on securing a place at the 2019 CEV Volleyball European Championships scheduled for late summer 2019 in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia.  With four rounds in August and the final two in January, all teams will be keen to get some more points on the board to give them the best possible chance come next year.  With the top team from each pool qualifying, along with the five second placed teams with the best score (after the pools are balanced), the pressure is very much on for all concerned.  You can follow the matches via the live streams on Laola1.tv or through social media using the hashtag #EuroVolleyM.

Pool A

Finland vs. Romania

  • Romania started their qualification with a 3-2 home win against Denmark with Finland beating the same team away three days later 3-1.
  • Finland and Romania have met 19 times in history: Romania won the first 12 matches and after that Finland the most recent seven. Last time Romania beat Finland was 31 years ago, in 1987.
  • This will be 58th time that Finland play an international match in their capital Helsinki.
  • Finland had one debutant in the squad for the Denmark game, as Severi Savonsalmi became the 390th player ever to put on a Team Finland shirt.
  • Urpo Sivula was top scorer (16 points) in Finland´s first match with Laurentiu Lica from Romania registering 19 in their home victory over Denmark.

Tuomas Sammelvuo, head coach of Finland: "I am happy with how our team has grown from our preparation games against Estonia. Our win against Denmark gave us more trust in our own work. We still need to better our game and be focused. We are on our timetable and wait to have a great evening for volleyball at Helsinki Icehall on Wednesday. It is great that our women's and men's team are taking our sport to a new level in our country and that they do so together."

Sakari Mäkinen, outside hitter of Finland: "It feels good that I have got so much responsibility on court. I had never before played with our setters Mikko Esko and Eemi Tervaportti and I was a little worried about how it would go. Luckily we found our connection nicely and fast. Romania seem to be a big and physical team so it will be exciting."


Pool B

Estonia vs. Israel

  • After 2,500 Estonian fans travelled to Riga for the game against Latvia, it is a fact that Kalev Sports Hall in Tallinn will be packed again for the home match against Israel.
  • Last time Israel and Estonia played each other was in the 2015 European League where Estonia took 3-0 and 3-1 wins.
  • There will be a very special “Thank You” between the first and second sets of the game to pay tribute to the players of “Kalev” volleyball team who became the champion of the former Soviet Union in 1968.

Gheorghe Crețu, head coach of Estonia: “We will be ready and focused for this game as Israel played very well against Latvia. I expect my players to follow our game plan and not give away any easy points. Also I hope our “crazy” army of fans will be there to support us as usual.”

Action from Estonia's last match with the setter scoring a clever second touch point for his side:


Pool C

Slovakia vs. Republic of Moldova

  • Slovakia and Moldova meet each other for the second time in their history following the fixture these two teams contested in May 2017 during the World Championship qualifications. Back then, Slovakia won in three sets.
  • Slovakia beat Iceland in Nitra last week; there were over one thousand people in the stands. Against Moldova they will play in Nitra again and hope for the same crowd to return.
  • Moldova are currently the leaders of Pool C with two wins. Both Montenegro and Slovakia have one win, Iceland lost their first two games.
  • Slovakia have not missed out on qualification to the #EuroVolleyM Final Round since 2007, with their best result being the fifth place they achieved in 2011, meaning that they have contested the final stage six times in a row and nine times since the breakup of the former Czechoslovakia back in 1993.

Andrej Kravárik, coach of Slovakia: "The home game against Moldova is now the most important one for us. We have to focus on the next step. We respect the fact that Moldova beat Montenegro, but, on the other side, our players have great skills. Moldova have their strengths, we know that. A good performance is the way to success. I hope there will be a great atmosphere once again in Nitra and the spectators will see a good match. I am looking forward to the game."

Artur Romascan, head coach of Republic of Moldova: "First of all I would like to appreciate a lot and to thank the Slovak Volleyball Federation for the excellent level of organisation and for the warm welcome provided to our team here in Nitra. With regard to the upcoming match, we respect a lot the Slovak team which is very experienced and did not miss in recent years any of the ECH final rounds. By contrast, the team of Moldova has much less experience on the international stage with a very small presence in official matches. Netherveless, we came to Nitra to show a good game and I believe the spectators will be delighted by the performances of both teams."

Montenegro vs. Iceland

•    It is the very first time that Montenegro and Iceland play an international match against each other.
•    Montenegro have a record of one win and one loss this far in the #EuroVolleyM qualifiers.
•    Iceland, on the other hand, have lost two matches in a row.

Veljko Basic, head coach of Montenegro: “We showed a great heart, a real desire for victory in our matchup against Slovakia. Although Slovakia may have been the favourites, we managed to deliver a very aggressive game, especially in block and defence. The victory against Slovakia is a very important one as we continue our quest for a spot in the European Championship. We now have two matches with Iceland before the last round of qualifications in January. We are now in a very good position.”



Pool D

Portugal vs. Austria

  • Portugal and Austria, 1st and 2nd ranked of Pool D, will play each other on Wednesday, at Forum Braga, and then again in Zwettl on the 25th August in Leg 4.
  • The match to be played on Wednesday is viewed by the Portuguese as the first of two finals.
  • Portugal come into the game from two consecutive 3-0 wins, at home against Albania and in Croatia, while Austria registered an unexpected setback in Albania.
  • The brothers Alexandre and Marco Ferreira have recovered from their injuries and were the best scorers for Portugal in the last match held in Croatia.
  • In the qualification for the 2015 European Championships, both teams faced each other with Portugal wining both matches (in Vila do Conde, POR and Vantaa, FIN) 3-0.
  • Austria’s Paul Buchegger is the 2nd best scorer after the first two legs and the best in the attack and service, while Nicolai Grabmüller is the 4th best in blocking. Portugal’s Alexandre Ferreira is the 3rd best server.

Marco Ferreira, opposite for Portugal: “We will face the two matches as two finals since we are aware that if we win these next matches the qualification is practically decided. We will try to take advantage of the first defeat from Austria against Albania, and work during these two days so we are at our maximum strength come game time.”

Michael Warm, Austria’s head coach: “We went to Albania to win this game, but we played with fluctuations and did not always show our real level. However, there are a lot of matches left in our pool and we need to be better prepared for the next challenges.”

Croatia vs. Albania

  • The Croatian team must win this game to stay in with a shot for a place in the Final Round next year.
  • All players are fit and ready and looking forward to the game.



Pool E

Spain vs. Norway

•    Spain and Norway come to this matchup with the same record of one win and one loss after two legs. In four days, they played two important matches as they vie for a spot in the Final Round of #EuroVolleyM.
•    Melilla is hosting the Red Lynxes again after the Spanish African enclave brought some luck last week in their home debut versus Georgia.
•    The last two matches between these teams ended in Spain’s favour. The team coached by Fernando Muñoz claimed two victories by the same score (3-1) during qualifications for the 2015 edition of #EuroVolleyM.  
•    Both teams got their only victory this far in this pool over Georgia. The Norwegians will be trying to extend their winning streak while Spain hope to get back on track after losing to Belarus.
•    Andrés Villena and Mathias Loftesnes lead the attack of their respective teams. The Spanish opposite scored 31 points in their losing effort against Belarus, and the ‘Viking’ spiker was the best in the home match with Georgia with 14 points to his name.



Andrés Villena, player of Spain: “It is a pity that we lost the last match in Belarus at the tiebreak. We did our best but we could not bring it home. The qualification is still a long way to go. We know that Norway is a hard and tough rival, and we need to have consistency with the serve and our performance in general.”

Fernando Muñoz, coach of Spain: “We come to this match a little angry. We could have made it better in Belarus. Now we focus on this match, and we need a victory. Norway will be a very hard opponent, with players who are physically strong. We have to focus on our options to earn the ticket to the #EuroVolleyM Finals. I expect a positive reaction from my players, to get a good rhythm of play and to deliver a great performance.”

Belarus vs. Georgia

  • Belarus have made a good start winning two games out of two, while their next opponents Georgia have lost both of theirs.
  • This will be the last home game for the Belarus team in the qualification so they want not only to win, but also to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere in front of their home tribunes.
  • This is the 100th international nomination for first referee Grant MacIntyre (SCO).

Pool F

Ukraine vs. Hungary

Still to come...

Former Y.R. of Macedonia vs. Switzerland

  • The Macedonian national team has played two games to five sets and this has had a 50-50 effect in the European qualifiers so far. The red and yellow side won against Hungary in Budapest and lost a home game against Ukraine. In both games they led 2-0.
  • Switzerland started their campaign with a big defeat against Ukraine (0-3), but in the second round played an equal match with Hungary and won their first point in the pool. The Swiss team did much better in attack, serve and block compared to the match with Ukraine, but it was not enough to rejoice at the first win.
  • Captain Nikola Gjorgiev is the main player of the Macedonian national team. He has scored 67 points so far and is ranked first in the scorer ranking of the qualification for the 2019 CEV European Championship.
  • A possible advantage for Switzerland could be in the middle blocker position, where Captain Samuel Ehrat has so far won six points and is ranked sixth in this statistic category.
  • Macedonia and Switzerland have not played a game so far, neither competitive, nor friendly. And now they will lock horns twice in four days. On Saturday, in the fourth qualifying round, these two teams will play again at Betoncoupe Arena in Schönenwerd (SUI).

Nikola Matijasevic, Head coach of the Former Y.R. of Macedonia: “The Swiss team play a very fast game and have a good service reception platform. That means that our servers will have to pass a hard test. But we consider ourselves as a better team, we will play on our home court and we have that advantage. That is why we expect a victory.”

Mario Motta, Head coach of Switzerland: “We respect the Former Y.R. of Macedonia, I know some of their players and I know how they play. They have been in the national team and playing together for a long time, so it will be hard for us. We will try to make the game difficult for them.”

Pool G

Greece vs. Azerbaijan

  • Greece return to the country’s ‘volleyball capital’ of Alexandroupolis after opening the EuroVolley qualifiers there with a 3-0 win over Luxembourg and scoring another straight-set victory on the road against Sweden.
  • Greece and Azerbaijan are both undefeated in Pool G, so something has to give on Wednesday.
  • The Azeris took both of their wins in five sets, over Sweden at home in Baku and Luxembourg in the Grand Duchy.
  • Nikos Zoupani, with 30 points in six sets thus far in the competition, is Greece’s top scorer. He is up against Dmitriy Obodnikov who has scored 29 for Azerbaijan across the ten sets that he has played. Obodnikov is also the best blocker overall in the whole competition with 10 from Azerbaijan’s two matches.

Menelaos Kokkinakis, outside hitter of Greece: “The team is in a very good condition and we know that the fans of Alexandroupolis will be with us as we try against Azerbaijan to claim our third straight win. We have studied our opponents and we know their weaknesses. We will do our utmost to satisfy our fans once again.”

Farid Jalalov, head coach of Azerbaijan: “We and Greece are the two undefeated teams in the pool and I think chances for victory are 50-50. The only advantage of Greece is that they play at home.”

Sweden vs. Luxembourg

  • Sweden and Luxembourg are fighting at the bottom of Pool G after two legs. The teams have assembled one point each thus far. A 3-0 or 3-1 win for one side or the other would be huge at this stage, as Greece and Azerbaijan are pulling away at the top of the pool.
  • Luxembourg and Sweden will clash two times within a span of just four days. The 2nd game between the two sides is taking place in d'Coque "Gymnase" in Luxembourg on Saturday.
  • Wednesday's match is taking place in Forum Örkelljunga, the hall where two #EuroLeague clashes were held back in May.

Click here for further information.


News nr. 92 of 99
22/08/2018 19:44:00
Leg 3 of #EuroVolleyM Qualification serves up 12 great matches
19/08/2018 18:30:00
Estonia get first win under their belt in #EuroVolleyM qualifying, Belarus oust Spain in the battle for Pool E top spot

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