Finland, Moldova, Portugal and Spain boost their chances for CEV EuroVolley 2019 Men finals, Estonia continue their dominance
Luxembourg, January 6, 2019. Volleyball Sunday proved to be successful for Finland, Moldova, Portugal and Spain as all four countries took one step closer to qualifying for the EuroVolley 2019 to be hosted in France, Belgium, Slovenia and the Netherlands. Meanwhile the Estonians, who are sure of their participation at Europe’s top event, continued their dominance in Pool B.
Finland vs. Denmark 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-20)
• This win puts Finland in the second position in Pool A with fingers crossed they would be among the five best runners-up after Leg 6 across all seven pools.
• Finnish opposite Olli-Pekka Ojansivu was on fire and scored 24 points. He hit five aces in the second set and six aces altogether. The best scorer of Denmark was Peter Trolle Bonnesen with 10 points.
• 2,500 Finnish fans saw a great performance from the Finnish team in a fully packed Saimaa Stadiumi in Mikkeli.
Tuomas Sammelvuo, head coach of Finland: “In this match we had good serves and our reception was also clearly better than Denmark’s. We had only some small problems in the third set, but the rest of the match was very good play from us.”
Eemi Tervaportti, captain of Team Finland: “The match went as it was supposed to go. We were better especially with our serve. Our attacks were good enough too. In the last set Denmark played well too. Ojansivu spiked and served very powerfully. It was nice to play again with him.”
Estonia vs. Latvia 3-0 (25-20, 25-11, 25-21)
• Estonia played with a great deal of confidence in this match, with the third set as the only one that was closely contested.
• Kristo Kollo had an incredible service run. In the second set he started to serve when the score was 12-9 and finished it at 23-10. Kollo had six aces in the game and 11 points.
• Estonia finish the qualification with a perfect 12 points and had already secured the ticked to the final stage of EuroVolley 2019 back in August.
Gheorghe Cretu, head coach of Team Estonia: “When you have these guys to play with and the people in the federation and all the fans waiting for you, then everyone makes you feel like you are coming home. And in front of a home crowd you want to do well. It is nice to start the new year with a win. Everyone played well and I have no words to criticise anyone. I had no doubts about who was going to win today.”
Avo Keel, head coach of Team Latvia: “I would have liked to play with the best players we have in Latvia, but this was not possible as all the best players did not come to play for the national team for different reasons. But this is not in my hands. In the game we had some chances in the third set, but we made bad decisions in the decisive moments. The second set was a psychological breakdown from our side, I do not think Kristo Kollo served that well today. He served well, but we lacked the skills to fight that. We must work more.”
Republic of Moldova vs. Iceland 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-11)
• This was the third home match in the new Futsal Arena and drew a home crowd of 750 spectators.
• The two teams met only for the second time in their history. The first match between Moldova and Iceland took place in August 2018 during the 2nd leg of the EuroVolley 2019 qualifications and ended with a straight 3-0 win for Moldova.
• Middle blocker Vladimir Stelmah could not join the Moldovan team because of injury, but Serghei Predius, Dmitrii Bahov and Mihai Voleanschii picked up the slack and drove Moldova to a 3-0 victory.
Artur Romascan, head coach of Moldova: “We treated with respect the young team of Iceland and this “training” match allows us to go further and to fight for the qualification against Montenegro. If we are lucky, we could make history for our country.”
Portugal vs. Croatia 3-1 (25-15, 19-25, 26-24, 25-16)
• Portugal was able to win the first set through their efficacy in the service and supremacy at the net, mainly in attack.
• Croatia reacted well, stabilised their reception and stepped up with their service to gain a 9-point advantage, with an ace from Stipe Peric. Their greater efficacy granted them a comfortable win in the second set.
• Putting to use their weapons - Alexandre Ferreira in attack and Filip Cveticanin at blocking, Portugal was able to win the battle that was the third set.
• In the fourth set and in front of 1,500 spectators, Portugal confirmed the recovery of the lead in Pool D. Alexandre Ferreira was the best scorer of the match with 18 points.
Carlos Prata, head coach of Team Portugal: “We have to congratulate the entire group. We are improving as a team, but this time of the year is not good for such important matches as this one. In the preparation for this match we had to overcome some difficulties because we had some players, such as Marco and Alexandre Ferreira, that had to beat some injuries. On Wednesday we will try to confirm the lead of the Pool even though we are conscious that Albania are stronger than Croatia and are undefeated playing at home.”
Ivan Rancic, head coach of Team Croatia: “Congratulations to Portugal, because they deserve to be in the EuroVolley finals. We were a bit frustrated since we didn’t qualify, but during the qualification phase the team suffered some setbacks, mainly with injuries of important players, such as Leo Andric, that we couldn’t use on this match. We were able to balance the match in the second and third sets, but Portugal was a fair winner.”
Spain vs. Belarus 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 26-24)
• Los Planos hall in Teruel had a full attendance. 2,100 spectators supported the Red Lynxes in a very hard match.
• A thrilling first set was decided by small details. The Red Lynxes had more efficiency in block and an ace of Gustavo Delgado ended the set 26-24.
• A great work in reception by Sergio Noda, Gustavo Delgado and Aaron Gámiz boosted the home team’s great performance during the whole match. In fact Noda and Delgado are already veterans who returned on court to help their team.
• Belarus reacted in the beginning of the third set, but the support of the Spanish fans and the attack of Andrés Villena closed the gap.
• Andrés Villena celebrated his 100th international match, being the top scorer with 19 points.
Artur Udrys, opposite of team Belarus: “I think we lost in attack, maybe because we did not play well. Reception was the key. Service was also OK, but we did not have too much time to practice, only two practices together before this match.”
Gustavo Delgado, outside-spiker of Spain: “We are very happy for the win. We were a bit inconsistent sometimes, but we fought in all the sets. The team never gave up, we defended better than they did even with a not so good serve. We came here to win and we did it.”
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Information by cev.lu