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16/09/2011 00:00
High brisance in EuroVolley semifinals
2011 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men

Vienna, Austria, September 16, 2011. One glimpse at the latest edition of the FIVB World Ranking reveals that the EuroVolley semifinalists, Russia (2), Italy (4), Serbia (5) and Poland (8) are very strong teams to reckon with not only in Europe. If Russia wins, they would shorten the distance to world’s current number one, Brazil. Moreover, their second place would be well secured.

Another reason why the semifinals are highly brisance games is the fact that both finalists will earn a ticket for the FIVB World Cup coming up in November. Beside host country Japan and nine continental champions and vice-champions, the FIVB will grant another two wild-cards.

Title-holder Poland faces Italy in Saturday’s first semifinal in the “Wiener Stadthalle”. There have already been two matches between those two teams this year. Italy clearly claimed both games (3:0, 3:1) that took place in Poland. The first duel was part of the World League finals held this past July in Gdansk, while Poland’s second defeat followed in late August as the “Hubert Wagner” Memorial was organized in Katowice.

Though Italy had come off as the winners twice captain Cristian Savani recommends caution. “We start from zero. It’s a new game and we should not think about the past matches”.

Russia and Serbia got to the semifinals having lost only two sets in four matches. The record of their last clashes is balanced. In 2011 they didn’t face each other so far. Russia claimed in straight sets the semifinal game of the 2010 FIVB World League. In the third round of the 2010 FIVB Men’s World Championship Serbia took its revenge by wrapping it up with a 3:1. After Russia stroke gold at the World League finals this past July in Gdansk, the guys mentored by Vladimir Alekno may be considered the pre-favorites of this classy and much anticipated semifinal.

After the quarterfinals were completed yesterday, the spots for the teams automatically qualified for the next edition of the European Championship are already attributed; with Poland and Denmark being pre-qualified as organizers, they are joined by the three remaining semifinalists (Russia, Italy and Serbia) plus Slovakia and Bulgaria that ended up in fifth and sixth place. France and Finland completed their campaign at the EuroVolley 2011 by finishing seventh and eighth respectively, and will have to go through the qualifiers to find their way to Denmark and Poland. 

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