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26/07/2017 23:04
Semi-final line-up confirmed at 2017 EYOF after a few more sensations
2017 European Youth Olympic Festival

Győr, Hungary, July 26, 2017. The pool stage of the Volleyball competition at the 2017 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) finished on Wednesday with the major sensation resulting from the disappointing campaign of Turkey’s men’s team. The 2017 U19 European Championship bronze medal winners finished last in their pool after losing three matches in a row. Russia will play Italy and the Czech Republic take on France in the men’s semis. In the women’s tournament, Serbia will lock horns with Belarus and reigning U18 European champions Russia will play Italy for a spot in the gold medal match.

Russia’s young men completed their triumphal march in Pool A with another 3-0 victory (25-18, 25-23, 25-18) – this time over reigning European champions Czech Republic. Russia have not lost a single set so far in the tournament and will play European silver medallists Italy in the semis. “The key to victory in this match was discipline,” said Russia team captain Konstantin Abaev. “Although we made some small mistakes, we controlled the game from the beginning. Today some of the starting players of both teams were actually second lines since the best ones enjoyed some rest ahead of the semis. Our service was outstanding today so we made it difficult for the Czech Republic to receive well and to develop their game in attack.”

In Pool B France beat Italy 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-19) to secure first place in their group and play the Czech Republic in the semis. “We managed to cause problems to Italy from the start of the game; we did not let them develop their offensive game the way they would have liked and wanted to. We remained very concentrated, especially in the second set and this provided us with an extra boost of confidence for the third and eventual last set,” said France player Célestin Cardin.

In the other match on schedule in Pool B, Belgium beat Turkey 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-19) to settle for third place in the group. “My team played very well today. They showed that they deserve to be here. My players followed the game plan we had agreed upon and the victory is the eventual reward for that,” said Belgium coach Mieke Moyaert. “The Turkish team is really good, as they finished third at this year’s European Championship. Now we showed that we are mature and can play with consistency and with a good team spirit as well.”

As a result, Belgium will play hosts Hungary in the classification matches 5-8 with Turkey taking on Poland, after the latter ones beat the home team 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-16) on Wednesday. “The team could have played better but of course we are glad that we could win against Hungary,” said Poland player Remigiusz Kapica. “I would like to thank the whole team but especially our setter, Szymon Jezierski, who delivered an extraordinary performance today.”

Reigning U18 women’s European champions Russia lost a dramatic match to Serbia to finish second in Pool A. Serbia won 3-2 (14-25, 25-18, 25-21, 16-25, 15-11) to claim top spot in the group. Slovenia settled for third place after rallying to a 3-0 victory over hosts Hungary (25-20, 25-20, 25-21). “Our match against Hungary was interesting and intense,” said Slovenia player Pia Bernjak. “The first set went well for us, as the opponent needed some time to find the rhythm of the game. The second set was really tight and exciting and finally, we came out as the eventual winners after three sets. I am happy our hard work is now paying off.”

Hungary will continue their campaign in the classification matches 5-8 playing Germany. On Wednesday, Belarus had a walkover following the withdrawal of the Netherlands earlier in the tournament as Italy routed Germany 3-0 (29-27, 25-14, 25-22) to take the top spot in Pool B and play Russia in the semis. “I think this game was really good, even better than yesterday’s match with Belarus,” said Italy Sarah Luisa Fahr. “We made just a few mistakes and I believe that this factor eventually decided the result. We played concentrated especially in the second set and the outcome of that period gave us extra energy for the last set.”

Two young players competing at the EYOF celebrated their birthday on Wednesday: Slovenia’s Alja Jerala and Italy’s Lorenzo Cortesia received a little present from the hands of Mr Sandor Hoboth and Mr Kornel Nagy on behalf of the local Organising Committee.

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