Italy, Russia and Belgium victorious in Pool II of EuroVolleyU18M

Saturday 4th of August 2018

Púchov, Slovakia, April 7, 2018. Italy and Russia claimed 3-0 victories, while Belgium beat France in 4 sets on the opening day of the 2018 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship - Men in Slovakia. 

Live streaming of all matches is available here.

Ukraine vs. Italy 0-3 (17-25, 22-25, 15-25) 

Italy, the 2017 CEV U17 Volleyball European Champions, managed to overcome obstacles and record a 3-0 win against Ukraine in the opening game of Pool II.  The first set brought an injury for their middle blocker Nicola Cianciotta, but the team came back strong in the second after being behind Ukraine 14-17; the third set was completely under the control of Italy and let the team win in straight sets. 

Piervito Disabato, captain and outside hitter of team Italy was obviously delighted: "We are very happy that we won the first match, it is fantastic. Tomorrow we will play against Russia, it will be an important and difficult match, but we want to win. We feel good here in Púchov, the arena is very beautiful." 

Sergiy Skrypka, coach of Ukraine: "The first match is always difficult. During the second half of the game my team started to believe they could win, but we do not have experience in playing at this level, so at the end Italy was better." 

Slovakia vs. Russia 0-3 (23-25, 17-25, 12-25)

Russia started the first set with four service errors, so Slovakia felt very confident and tried to take the favourites of this game by surprise, yet Russia still claimed the set with a minimal lead of 25-23. Slovakia was in the lead early in the second set as well, but Omar Kurbanov and his killer serves helped Russia to win the second 25-17 after a 16-16 tie. The third set later on was completely dominated by the guests.

The head coach of team Russia Mikhail Nikolaev recapped the game: "Objectively, I think that we are a stronger team, but the beginning of the game was pretty equal. We do have experience from difficult games, so we managed to get out of it. I hope we will play better tomorrow."

Erik Gabor, coach of Slovakia: "We knew that Russia is the big favourite and we could only surprise them. We served well in the first set and the Russian players were a little nervous. Late in the second set Russia improved their serve and defence and we were under big pressure. We lost, but I am satisfied with the performance." He and his team are confident that by continuing playing like they did today, they can still advance to the play-off stage, to be held next week in Zlin.

Belgium vs. France 3-1 (25-17, 17-25, 25-8, 25-18)

The final match of the day was dominated by Belgium, yet France managed to clinch the second set after six successful blocks. The third set flew by in 19 minutes with Belgium getting back in the game and eventually winning the whole match.
Mieke Moyaert coach of the National team of Belgium: "We played some training matches with France recently, so we knew, it was going to be a hard game. We knew we had to play at a very high level in order to beat France. After the third set, when we won 25-8 I knew, we should stay concentrated."
Fabien Roy, coach from France confirmed: "Belgium played a good game. We knew them very well, because we played against them preparation matches last week. They served without mistakes and they deserved to win today. Tomorrow we play against Slovakia, it is a new day and a new game."

The games will continue with the pool play tomorrow and reach the climax in Zlin, Czech Republic, where the eventual champions will be crowned on April 15.

Click here for further information.

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