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12/01/2019 20:00
Italy and France to clash once more in bid to qualify for #EuroVolleyU17M
2019 CEV U17 Volleyball European Championship - Men

Viana do Castelo, Portugal, January 12, 2019. Italy and France will play a repeat of their pool match on Sunday when they clash in the final of the WEVZA #EuroVolleyU17M qualifier in Viana do Castelo. Italy beat France 3-0 earlier in the tournament but the remake of this match is certainly going to be an interesting one. The Netherlands will play hosts Portugal for third place as Germany and Belgium clash in the match for positions 5 and 6. The eventual winners of the tournament qualify for the Final Round of the EuroVolleyU17M due to take place later this summer in Sofia, Bulgaria.


Portugal vs. France 0-3 (16-25, 21-25, 20-25)

A very nervous Portuguese team was an easy prey for the aggressive service of their French opponents. After a one-sided first set, France played with growing confidence, maintaining the pressure high through their service and high defence, thus securing another set win. Portugal caught a more promising start to the third set, but France did not let their guard down and turned the score around (9-8). The young ‘Bleus’ eventually won the set and with it the match as well.

Olivier Audabram, head coach of France: “We knew that it was going to be a difficult match, because we were playing the home team and our Portuguese friends are always strongly supported by their fans. We did what we had to do, always maintaining our focus and took advantage of the good moments. Congratulations to my players and now I can only promise that we will fight for the direct qualification to the Final Round in Sunday’s final.”

Nuno Pereira, head coach of Portugal: “France were always very aggressive with their serving game and created us many difficulties. We have to continue working hard to play more time at this level.”

Italy vs. The Netherlands 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-20)

From the first whistle, Italy lived up to their favourite status and set the rhythm of the match until the final 25-16. In the second set, history repeated itself and the Azzurrini showed one more time their excellent game. The third and final set was a closer affair, since the Netherlands demonstrated a different attitude, always fighting for the victory, but on the other side of the net Italy confirmed that they are the clear-cut favourites of this tournament. Italy’s team captain Luca Porro was the best scorer of the match with 14 points, while Stijn de Ruijter registered eight for the Netherlands in their losing effort.

Renato Barbon, head coach of Italy: “It was a difficult match, as any semi-final of a European qualifier is. Tomorrow, against France, it’s important that we are able to forget the previous match against them that we won 3-0 and we focus only on playing our own game.”

Classification matches 5-7

Spain vs. Germany 1-3 (25-21, 12-25, 18-25, 25-27)

Germany started the match very well (5-1) but Spain’s response was fulminant, going from a slight disadvantage (7-9) to a huge and decisive advantage (20-9). Germany started, once again, strong in the second set, but this time they did not let Spain surprise them and with Gustaf Grawert scoring in attack, they took this set with ease. With their anxiety settled, the third set was much more even, but it was Germany, stronger as a collective, that had the upper hand. Spain led the score until they reached 23 points in the fourth set, when Germany turned the match around, eventually winning it by 27-25 to play Belgium for fifth place. Gustaf Grawert was the best scorer of the match with 23 points, while Guillermo Salmeron was Spain’s most prolific player with 12.

Matus Kalny, head coach of Germany: “We started the match well, but afterwards we allowed Spain’s reaction. From the second set onwards we were able to put more pressure with our service ion the Spanish reception and our attack worked better as well.”

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