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10/01/2019 20:00
France and Italy standout at WEVZA #EuroVolleyU17 qualifier
2019 CEV U17 Volleyball European Championship - Men

Viana do Castelo, Portugal, January 10, 2019. The WEVZA qualifier for this year’s #EuroVolleyU17M is up and running in the Portuguese city of Viana do Castelo. After the opening matches in the two pools played on Wednesday, Italy beat Belgium 3-0 and France did just the same in their matchup with Germany in Pool B to keep a perfect record in the competition. The eventual winners of the tournament will qualify for the Final Round due to take place in July in Sofia, Bulgaria. If you wish to follow the action live, click here for the streaming of all matches.  

Pool A

The Netherlands vs. Portugal 2-3 (25-19, 23-25, 25-22, 19-25, 11-15)

After a very close race in the first set, the Netherlands found in their captain Kees Merkx the right asset to secure a six-point lead (22-16) and eventually a 25-19 win. The second set was another tight affair up to 16-all but this time Portugal had the upper hand at 25-23 finishing it off with an ace from Tiago Matos. The third set was yet another close one, this time with Kian Macnack making the difference with his attacks to secure a second set win for the Netherlands. However, with the support of their fans, Portugal dominated the fourth set from start to end and they again emerged victorious from a dramatic tiebreak as well, as their captain Manuel Figueiredo sealed a 15-11 win with a block. Figueiredo and Macnack top scored for Portugal and the Netherlands, respectively with 26 and 24 points.

Nuno Pereira, coach of Portugal: “We achieved this victory with a lot of team spirit and as a result, it tastes even better. The match is a reflection of how young these players are – since they made so many mistakes. We still did not win anything major, tomorrow we face Spain and we will have to win again. If I have to name the favourites of this tournament, I would mention Italy and France, who have shown better quality this far.”

Pool B

Belgium vs. Italy 0-3 (17-25, 15-25, 18-25)

After a close start to the match, Italy ran away thanks to their serving game and attacks to claim the first set 25-17. Italy fought for every point, showing good defence and block, and as their confidence grew, they widened their advantage as well, until they sealed a 25-15 win. Even though Belgium started the third set much better than the previous ones, they ended up losing the match in three sets. Luca Porro and Stefano Dell’Osso top scored for Italy with 12 and 11 points, as Senne Gilford registered 10 for Belgium.

Renato Barbon, head coach of Italy: “We made some mistakes in reception, but our main goal is to develop these young kids, make them better players and this type of tournament is very important to achieve that. I have grey hair already, but they still have much room for improvement.”

Wim De Boeck, head coach of Belgium: “Our players are very young and they need to train a lot. Nevertheless, I am happy because today we played better than we did yesterday against France. We would like to fight for the victory in tomorrow’s match with Germany.”  

France vs. Germany 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-23)

France came out with all guns blazing with the help of their star player Anatole Chaboissant but Germany were able to keep the score close for most of the opening set. As for the following set, Chaboissant helped move the score from 10-8 to 15-8 while standing behind the service line and that break proved decisive. Germany claimed an 18-11 lead in the third set but some changes to the initial starting-six helped France come back with – yet again – the help of Chaboissant’s serving game. Chaboissant eventually top scored with 13 points, including five aces and two blocks. Jannes Wiesner and Anton Jung recorded 10 points each for Germany.

Olivier Audabram, head coach of France: “We are still at the beginning of the competition and it is too soon to point out the favorites. It is the first time that my players play together and we are getting to know each other as a team. I would like to congratulate Germany because they created a lot of pressure, and also my team because they responded well to the most difficult situations in this game.”

Click here for further information.

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