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28/07/2017 21:57
Italy vie for double gold at European Youth Olympic Festival
2017 European Youth Olympic Festival

Győr, Hungary, July 28, 2017. Italy vs. France and Italy vs. Belarus will be the final matches of the men’s and women’s Volleyball competition at this year’s European Youth Olympic Festival after completion of the semis on Friday. The finals will be a remake of the matches these same teams played in the group stage of the tournament earlier this week.

In a truly dramatic match, Italy beat Russia 3-2 (25-16, 25-21, 15-25, 25-27, 15-13) to seal their spot in the men’s final. “Today’s match was really exciting,” said Italy team captain Daniele Lavia. “Both teams had really good and bad moments but in the fifth set we showed our fighting spirit and we eventually won the game. Our service and defence played a very important role towards our victory. We are obviously really happy to play in the final.”

In the second semi-final, France easily beat reigning U19 European champions Czech Republic 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-20) to extend their winning streak in the tournament. They will play Italy for gold on Saturday hoping to repeat what they did in the pool phase of the competition – where Les Bleus routed the Azzurrini in three straight sets. “We did a great job today, and I am so proud of my team,” said France libero Luca Ramon. “We prepared very well for this match with the Czech Republic and our hard work paid off. We were concentrated and focused from start to end, and I think this was probably the key to our victory.”

Turkey opened the programme of the day with a hard-fought 3-2 victory (13-25, 25-21, 26-24, 23-25, 15-11) over Poland in the semi-finals 5-8. “This match was really tight, since Poland was a good opponent. We could have played a bit more organised but even though we lacked consistency, we managed to win in the end,” said Turkey star player Adis Lagumdzija. “I have to stress that it is very difficult to stay focused all the time as we have the World Championship coming up soon and we would like to give 100% there.”

Turkey will play Belgium for fifth place after the young Red Dragons beat Hungary 3-1 (21-25, 26-24, 25-20, 25-18). “It is never easy to play against the home team. The crowd was supporting Hungary with much passion. They started the match better than we did but in the second set, we finally woke up and eventually controlled the game until the very end. Now we will be concentrating on tomorrow’s match against Turkey,” said Belgium team captain Matthieu Vanneste.

In the women’s competition, Belarus routed Serbia 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-20) to seal their spot in the gold medal match. “Serbia has a strong team. We knew that this match would be a real fight and we tried to show our best side,” said Belarus star player Yuliya Kisliuk. “We served really well and our team spirit played an important role as well. It makes us really happy that we are playing in the final.”

Later in the day, Italy beat Russia 3-0 too (25-20, 25-22, 29-27) to secure their place in the ‘grand finale’ of the tournament. “This match was a difficult one for us because earlier this year we lost to Russia 2-3 in the final of the U18 European Championship. It feels amazing that we could fight back this time and we were able to win 3-0. We could count on each other throughout the whole match and I believe this was key to our success,” said Italy Valeria Battista.

Germany opened the programme of the day with a 3-0 victory over Hungary (25-13, 25-10, 25-20) to challenge Slovenia on Saturday for fifth place. “Today we played better than yesterday and we could finally deliver what was a real team effort. I believe the key to winning this match was our massive blocks and strong defence,” said Germany Linda Bock. “Our goal here was to do better than we did at the European Championship earlier this year where we finished sixth, so tomorrow we will be trying to secure fifth place.”

Hungary finish the tournament in seventh place following the withdrawal of the Netherlands from the competition earlier this week.

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News nr. 2 of 5
29/07/2017 21:56:00
Italy seal historic double gold at 2017 European Youth Olympic Festival
26/07/2017 23:04:00
Semi-final line-up confirmed at 2017 EYOF after a few more sensations

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