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19/07/2017 22:49
Spain stun Germany as Red Dragons rout Slovakia on Day 1 in Kortrijk
2018 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Men

Kortrijk, Belgium, July 19, 2017. On the opening day of the men’s World Championship qualifier in Kortrijk, hosts Belgium easily beat Slovakia in three sets after resisting to their opponent’s comeback in the first set before Spain caused the first sensation of the competition by defeating pre-favourite Germany 3-1. Later in the evening, Estonia had to fight for four close sets before having the upper hand in their matchup with Belarus. The eventual winners of this single round robin tournament will book a ticket to next year’s World Championship in Italy and Bulgaria.

Belgium vs. Slovakia

The hosts of Belgium caught a promising start to their campaign in Kortrijk rallying to a comprehensive 3-0 victory in their matchup with Slovakia (26-24, 25-13, 25-15). “I knew and I said that set points could be very important at the end of this tournament,” said Belgium coach Vital Heynen after the victory. “After leading 21-13 in the first set, we somehow started being nervous and this should not happen in this kind of matches. The top teams here will not drop any set like this and fortunately in the end we won 26-24. After that, the remainder of the match was a piece of cake,” he added.

“We came back with good reception in the first set but luck was eventually on the side of the home team,” said Slovakia coach Andrej Kravarik. “After that, we lost our captain Frantisek Ogurcak because of some health problems and that was the moment where our young players had the opportunity to play against one of the top teams in Europe.”

Spain vs. Germany

Spain caused a real surprise in the second match of the day beating Germany 3-1 (25-17, 24-26, 25-22, 25-19). Augusto Renato Colito, an excellent high-jumping attacker, the mastery of setter Angel Trinidad, and good block-defence from the Spanish side moved the score from 8-8 to 14-8 in the first set and Germany could no more make up for this deficit. However, that was not the only outstanding moment for Spain as they won set 3 and 4 as well to triumph with a 3-1 victory.

“I do not want to talk about this game but this was surely not our best performance,” said Germany coach Andrea Giani. “I do not think everything is compromised for us because I expect many more surprises in the coming days as well, but this is definitely not what I expected from this game.”

Angel Trinidad, who plays for Knack ROESELARE, some 20 km from Kortrijk, said: “Of course we did not expect this result because Germany have a lot more power and experience. However, we were well organised, and we knew everything about the way they play. This does not mean that we are the favourites now. We lost the final of the World League Group 3 to Estonia. We are not here with our best opposite, but Colito did very well, even though this past season he played only in the second division of our national league, so I think we deserved to win.”

Belarus vs. Estonia

The winners of this year’s World League Group 3 Finals, Estonia were able to start the tournament on a high note following their 3-1 victory over Belarus (25-20, 25-22, 21-25, 25-23). “However, the very last ball in my opinion was touched [by their block] and if that had been acknowledged, the score would have been 24-24 and everything was still possible. We came back strong and played better and better,” said the libero of Team Belarus, Maksim Budziukhin.

The Estonian victory did not come as a surprise for their coach Gheorghe Cretu. “We were well prepared for this game whereas Belarus were the outsiders, so they had no pressure at all. They could play free from any stress. We failed with our side-out in the third set but fortunately we came back in the fourth one. Are we the favourites in this tournament? Well, in my opinion the favourites are those showing the best mentality on the court, those who want the victory the most. As for today, I am pleased I could use some of our second lines and they also played a key role towards this victory.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches

News nr. 5 of 25
20/07/2017 22:54:00
Belgium and Estonia deliver superb performances as Germany come back from Wednesday’s setback
18/07/2017 18:52:00
Heynen sees Germany as favourites for sole ticket to 2018 Men’s Worlds

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