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20/06/2019 19:00
The final race for the #EuroLeagueW title begins on Friday
CEV Volleyball European Golden League 2019

Varaždin, Croatia, June 20, 2019. Four teams arrived to Varaždin in Croatia on Thursday to compete in the Final Four of the CEV Volleyball European Golden League - Women. Czech Republic, Belarus and Spain are joining the hosting team Croatia after confirming their qualification on the last weekend of the League Round. Following the Drawing of Lots, Czech Republic are set to face Belarus in the first semi-final of the day, while Croatia will be playing Spain. The winner will be taking home 125,000 € out of 1.2 million € money prize set for the 2019 editions of Golden and Silver European Leagues combined. The runner-up, third and fourth teams will be taking 80,000 €, 60,000 € and 40,000 € respectively. The winner and runner-up will continue their volleyball journey to Peru, where they will be competing in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women's Challenger Cup in a bid to join the 2020 edition of the Volleyball Nations League. 


Semi-Final I

Czech Republic vs. Belarus - 16:00 local time

This is the first Final Four appearance for the Belarusian team, who qualified to the Final Four as the winner of Pool C. Having won all of the six matches of the League Round, Belarus finished the pool with 16 points with the best win-loss record among all of the finallists. Czech Republic won the most competitive pool in the League Round, having four victories and two losses - the same recorded registered by Ukraine and Slovakia. The last victory gave Czech Republic just enough points to finish on top of Pool A.

The Czech team is the only finalist to have previously won the CEV Volleyball European League - Women, as they celebrated a victory in 2012 on home court, hosting the Finals in Karlovy Vary. The Czech team have also played in the Final Four last year, when they finished with a bronze medal. 

Ioannis Athanasopoulos, coach of Czech Republic: “We are taking everything step by step as we are a new team, new coaching staff and we have been only working together for a month. We try to improve practice by practice and game by game and we have a lot of work ahead of us. The team is trying really hard and I think we are getting better. The rivalry in our pool was very close and when you are in such difficult situations, then as team you have to overcome this. This was a great experience for us to go through and become a better team ahead of the Final Four.”

Semi-Final II

Croatia vs. Spain - 19:00 local time

This is the first time for Croatia to play in the Final Four of CEV Volleyball European League - Women. Despite having secured the spot in the Final Round as the hosting team, Croatia topped Pool B with five victories in the League Round. Their high finish in the pool allowed the best runner-up from all pools to join the Final Round in Varaždin. Croatia is yet another team that coach Daniele Santarelli has led to the final stages of a major competition, only weeks after his successful club season with Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO has ended. 

Spain, who will be Croatia's opponent in the semis, qualified as the best runner-up among all pools in the League Round. Having lost the last match in Pool C against Belarus in a tie-break, Spain won the race against Hungary on set ratio: 1.87 to 1.66. This is also the first time for Spain to attend the Final Four tournament. In 2017, Spain and Slovakia lost the semi-finals played in home and away matches system. 


Daniele Santarelli, coach of Croatia: “We are happy to play in the Final Four and it is specially important for us since we will be playing in front of our own supporters. We know that the level now is good and we can’t afford to make many mistakes because there will be no time to recover from that. Spain is a good team, they have a lot of good spikers and don’t make many mistakes. We will have to play our best level against them. 

I reached so many finals in a short period of time with my teams (Imoco Volley Conegliano and national team of Croatia). I have worked hard for this and I’m happy that after one full season with Imoco Volley and a few finals that we reached there I can continue this way with the national team of Croatia. The level and players are different but it is always a final and we must play very well to continue improving.”

Samanta Fabris, opposite of Croatia: “It was important for us to try and win Pool B, so we could gain more confidence during the League Round. We are a young team, so our objective is to grow and I think we showed it in the last matches. We are excited because we will play in front of our public and we will give our best to get the result. I hope we are ready for tomorrow.” 

Ana Escamilla, outside-spiker of Spain and top scorer of the League Round with 108 points: “We are excited to be here and we will fight to achieve our goal - playing in the final. Being the best scorer of the League Round feels good and I’m happy I could help my team this way. We came to Varaždin to play good volleyball and show the best level we can.”


For more details about the tournament click here.

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