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13/01/2020 02:45
Six European nations to appear in Tokyo 2020 Volleyball
CEV Tokyo Volleyball European Qualification 2020

Luxembourg, January 13, 2020.  Following the successful completion of the CEV continental Olympic tournaments for both genders, the European Volleyball family can draw the line and proudly assess that eight teams from six different countries – France (men), Italy (women and men), Poland (men), Russia (women and men), Serbia (women) and Turkey (women) – will represent the continent at Tokyo 2020 in July and August.

France (men)

The men’s team of France hopped on the last plane to Tokyo, winning the European continental qualifier held last week in Berlin. In the crucial final, Les Bleus mastered a 3-0 victory over Germany. France are heading to the Olympics for the fifth time in history. Their best result so far is the eighth place they took at their debut at Seoul 1988.

Italy (women and men)

The women’s national team of Italy topped the final standings without losing a single set, not even against the Netherlands or Belgium, at the intercontinental Olympic qualification tournament they hosted in Catania in August. The Italian ladies have been Olympic regulars since Sydney 2000, but have never managed to make it past the quarterfinals.

On the men’s side, Italy qualified for Tokyo 2020 in a similar manner, by winning all three of their matches, including the decider with EuroVolley 2019 champions-to-be Serbia, at the August intercontinental qualifier at home in Bari. They have not missed a single edition of the Games since their rookie appearance at Montreal 1976, earning three silver (most recently at Rio 2016) and three bronze medals. In fact, they have made the last four every time since their Atlanta 1996 silver.

Poland (men)

The reigning world champions booked their trip to Tokyo at the intercontinental qualifier they hosted in Gdansk. Poland went through the tournament unbeaten, leaving France and EuroVolley runners-up-to-be Slovenia behind in the standings. The White-and-Reds have played at nine editions of the Games and this will be their fifth consecutive Olympics. They have won only one medal, but of the highest calibre – gold at Montreal 1976.

Russia (women and men)

Russia’s women mounted a fantastic comeback from two sets down in the deciding match of the intercontinental qualifier in Kaliningrad to outlast Korea (who eventually claimed the Asian continental quota this past week in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand) and top the tournament with three wins. Russia (and their predecessor Soviet Union) have appeared at all editions of the Olympic Volleyball tournament, except for Los Angeles 1984, which the USSR skipped for political reasons. They have won four gold and five silver medals, but they are heading to their 14th participation without having made the semifinals of the three most recent editions.

The men’s national team of Russia are also going to the Olympics for the 14th time. In their showcase, they boast four gold (most recently from London 2012), three silver and three bronze medals. Russia qualified for Tokyo 2020 swiftly shutting out all their three opponents at the intercontinental qualifier at home in Saint Petersburg. In the deciding game, they crushed Iran, the eventual Asian ticketholder to the Olympics in the Japanese capital.

Serbia (women)

Rio 2016 silver medallists, World and two-time in a row European champions Serbia had their Olympic visa to Tokyo 2020 stamped at the August intercontinental qualifier in Wroclaw. They came back from a set down to defeat hosts Poland in the crucial match and top the table on three wins. Serbian women have played at every Olympics since their debut at Beijing 2008 and the Rio 2016 silver was their first podium.

Turkey (women)

Turkish women were the last European team to claim their spot at Tokyo 2020. They topped the final standings at the CEV continental Olympic qualification tournament in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn on Sunday evening after a 3-0 victory over Germany in the deciding match. The only time Turkey appeared at the Olympics before was at London 2012 after winning the continental qualification at home in Ankara. At the Games in the British capital, they won two out of five matches, but failed to advance to the quarterfinals.

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