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02/07/2017 21:57
Ukraine claim historic gold in European League, bronze for Sweden
2017 CEV Volleyball European League – Men

Gentofte, Denmark, July 2, 2017. Ukraine are the winners of the 2017 CEV Volleyball European League. In the Danish city of Gentofte, the team of coach Ugis Krastins was too strong for the Former Y.R. of Macedonia: 3-1. The gold medal is a historic one for Ukraine, since it’s their first medal in the history of the European League. Also, Sweden found their place on the list of honours for this competition. Sweden won the bronze medal after defeating the hosts of Denmark 3-1 in an all-Scandinavian derby.

Ukraine vs Former Y.R. of Macedonia

The gold medal match was a clash between two teams with completely different backgrounds in the CEV European League.  Whereas Ukraine made their first ever appearance in the tournament this season, the Former Y.R. of Macedonia were playing their third consecutive European League gold medal match.

The historical statistics are one thing, but the actions on the court count the most. Led by a brilliant Maksym Drozd, the MVP of this Final Four, Ukraine opened with a very convincing 25-15 win in the first set.

The Former Y.R. of Macedonia was hoping that third time would be the charm in their quest for European League gold. But their hope almost faded, when Volodymyr Tevkun closed the second set with a strong spike, in favour of the Ukraine: 25-22.

The three-time finalists trailed again in the third set (11-16), but then their undisputed superstar and European League top scorer, Nikola Gjorgiev, turned on his magic. At the crucial moments, the strong opposite used every fibre in his body to score points for his team. The Former Y.R. of Macedonia survived a match point, before Gjorgiev secured the set for the Macedonians: 26-24.

Ukraine were not too impressed with the Houdini act from the Former Y.R. of Macedonia. The European League debutants continued their high-level display of Volleyball, cruising to landslide 25-13 win and an overall 3-1 victory.

Ugis Krastins, head coach of Ukraine: “We will enjoy the celebration in full”

Ugis Krastins, head coach of Ukraine: “I am very proud of this team. They played a really good game according to our plan and did not fall out when they faced strong pressure. Our service was just amazing, since the beginning of the match. This was what set the tone for the entire game. I am happy, and I want to praise the guys and thank the Federation for giving us the opportunity to participate in the European League. This was our first appearance, and we managed to immediately win the gold. It is simply amazing, and we will enjoy the celebration in full.”

Nikola Gjorgiev, captain of the Former Y.R. of Macedonia: “We haven’t improved enough”

Nikola Gjorgiev, captain of the Former Y.R. of Macedonia: “Mentally, we weren’t ready enough to play this final. We are now second for the third year in a row, I must conclude that we haven’t improved enough to win the gold. My congratulations go out to Ukraine.”

Sweden vs Denmark

The home heroes from Denmark faced Sweden in a Scandinavian derby for the bronze medal in the European League. With consistent Volleyball, it was Sweden who came out on top in the duel to claim their first ever European League medal after winning 3-1. 

In the first set the score was balanced until 21-21. At that point Sweden created the crucial gap and scored three points in a row: 24-21. After missing two set points, it was substitute David Pettersson who cashed the third: 25-23.

Denmark tied the score quickly. The home side was already leading with 16-10 at the second technical time-out, and that was enough to stay out of trouble for the rest of the set. With 25-16 they put 1-1 on the scoreboard.

From the third set on it was Sweden to dictate the tempo of the match. The team of coach Johan Isacsson played with a lot of confidence, and especially the 20-year-old opposite Jacob Link was scoring a lot of points, 20 in total.

After winning the third set 25-19, the Swedes steamed on in the fourth set. The team of Isacsson needed six match points to secure the win, but when the 25th point was finally there, the Swedish players could cheer and celebrate together with their fans in the Gentofte Sportspark.

Johan Isacsson, head coach of Sweden: “This means incredibly much for us”

Johan Isacsson, head coach of Sweden: “This means incredibly much for us. We were very tired after the tiebreak loss from yesterday. Both teams were. But I think we came to the match with a bit more energy and our substitutions worked out very well. Denmark has a great team. But we wanted it so much. We searched for revenge after our missed match point yesterday, and we found it. I am so proud of the guys.”

Mikael Trolle, head coach of Denmark: “We are just not consistent enough”

Mikael Trolle, head coach of Denmark: “I am very disappointed. I still believe we have the level to win the tournament, when our game works, but we are just not consistent enough in our service and reception. Our opponent was good today, no doubt about that. My congratulations to Sweden.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches


SETTER: Volodymyr Kovalchuk / Ukraine
OPPOSITE: Nikola Gjorgiev / Former Y.R. of Macedonia
OUTSIDE SPIKER: Oleksiy Klyamar / Ukraine
OUTSIDE SPIKER: Rasmus Breuning Nielsen / Denmark
MIDDLE BLOCKER: Maksym Drozd / Ukraine
MIDDLE BLOCKER: Gjoko Josifov / Former Y.R. of Macedonia
LIBERO: Anton Wijk Tegenrot / Sweden
MVP: Maksym Drozd / Ukraine

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Former Y.R. of Macedonia and Ukraine to meet in #EuroLeagueM final

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