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21/06/2019 18:00
Final Four hosts Croatia will face Czech Republic in the #EuroLeagueW final
CEV Volleyball European Golden League 2019

Varaždin, Croatia, June 21, 2019. Czech Republic better their result from the previous edition of the CEV European Golden League, after winning the semi-final against Belarus. The bronze medallists from the 2018 #EuroLeagueW dominated the first half of the match and were able to withstand the pressure from the Belarusian side to claim a final victory in four sets. Croatia fought hard against Spain as both teams proved no point advantage is safe in volleyball. But it was the hosting team who emerged victorious in a four-set encounter, celebrating their first ever #EuroLeagueW final. Belarus and Spain will compete for the bronze medal in their third meeting in this edition of the CEV European Golden League, while Croatia and Czech Republic will fight for gold after securing their participation in the FIVB Challenger Cup due to take place next week in Lima, Peru. 

Semi-final I

Czech Republic vs Belarus 3-1 (25-16, 25-15, 23-25, 26-24)

• Czech Republic started the match with a strong domination over Belarus. Both teams suffered to produce points in block and service, but the Czech team was leading in attack.
• The block and serve began to work well on the Czech side, as the team scored five stuff blocks and four aces throughout the second set. 
• A closer exchange began in the third set until Belarus managed to extend the gap to 16-12. Czech Republic came close twice at 18-19 and 21-22, but Belarus stayed ahead and claimed the set at 25-23.  
• Belarus continued their domination in the fourth set, but Czech Republic found new energy to tie the score at 22-22. Their first match point came at 24-23, but they needed another one to confirm the final victory in four sets. 
• It was a collective scoring effort from Czech Republic: Gabriela Orvosova led with 18 points, closely followed by Andrea Kossanyiova and Michaela Mlejnkova with 17 and 16 points, respectively. 
• On the other side of the net, Anastasiya Harelik scored 17 points for Belarus. 


Hanna Kalinouskaya, middle-blocker of Belarus: “I think we were a little bit tired about the League Round, we lacked enough recovery time ahead of the Final Four. Czech Republic did a great job, they had a really good service and we couldn’t deal with it very well. You could see that today we were not in our best shape, we tried our best but it was not enough.”

Ioannis Athanasopoulos, coach of Czech Republic: “It’s a great feeling to be in the final. Congratulations to my team, I want to thank them for the way they fought today and thank the Czech Republic for giving me the chance to coach their national team. I think we played very well in the first two sets, where we put a lot of pressure on Belarus with our serve. We allowed some easy mistakes later on, but in the end I was proud of the team. I am Greek and have quite a heated temper, so I try to push my players. I hope they take it in a good way and I think today it helped them to win.”

Semi-final II

Croatia vs. Spain 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20)

• Croatia could not imagine a better start to the semi-final, but could also not imagine Spain bouncing back from 16-7 behind. The Spanish team came as close as 20-18 and 22-20, before Croatia had the last word, winning the first set 25-21.
• The tables were turned in the second set when Spain went 11-4 ahead. Croatia gradually decreased the gap until eventually taking the lead at 18-17 and winning the set 25-22.
• A head to head rivalry in the third set was further interrupted by Croatia who temporarily took a 20-16 lead. Spain fought back, scoring six points in a row and winning the set at 25-23. 
• Croatia used the experience of the previous sets and kept a four-point lead until the end of the fourth one, eventually sealing their victory against Spain.    
• Lucija Mlinar was the best scorer for Croatia with 23 points, while Aina Berbel scored 22 times for Spain. 
• Both teams performed well at the service line, with Spain scoring nine aces to Croatia’s seven. The hosting team returned 10 stuff blocks to seven of Spain. 

María Corral, setter of Spain: “We didn’t have a good start, we were always behind Croatia and needed a bit of time to get into the game. We played better in the next part of the semi-final, but we still had to chase Croatians for the most part of the match. We finally won the third set, but I think that in the fourth we were not convinced that we could make it. 
Our opponent tomorrow is Belarus whom we know very well. I think this knowledge will help us, but it will also help them. We saw today that we can tie the score and I think that’s a good sign ahead of tomorrow. We will try to finish with a bronze medal, because we know that we can do it.”

Pascual Saurin, coach of Spain: “The beginning of the match was a key element in this game, as Croatia started very well and we were having problems in reception. Their attack and block made the difference at the end, so congratulations to the Croatian team on their victory.”

Samanta Fabris, opposite of Croatia: “We started the match in a really good way, we kept our game very organised. As the game progressed we started experiencing more ups and downs, and a couple of their players put us in a difficult position. 
This is a really important win for us, our goal was to reach the final and now we are going to think about Czech Republic. Up until now we couldn’t focus on our next opponent and we didn’t expect any specific team to face on Saturday. We know that tomorrow will be a difficult task, but we are hosting the Final Four and we will try to keep the trophy at home.”  

For more details about #EuroLeague click here

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21/06/2019 20:10:00
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21/06/2019 13:00:00
Andrea Kossanyiova hopes to repeat 2012 #EuroLeagueW success with Czech Republic
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