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27/02/2021 16:00
Santarelli and Mlinar share excitement for #EuroVolleyW in Zadar
CEV EuroVolley 2021 Women

Zagreb, Croatia, February 27, 2021. Before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting break, the Croatian women’s national team played their last competitive match in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, for the CEV qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It was in January 2020, and soon after, the pandemic wreaked havoc, essentially cancelling all international competitions scheduled for the summer of 2020.

Therefore, everyone is very much looking forward to this coming summer and to the return of the sport in full scope, because the fight against the coronavirus is slowly but surely becoming more successful, especially after the introduction and roll out of mass vaccination programmes. This ‘new normal’ is not exactly pleasing to any of the athletes, so everyone wishes to go back to the ‘good old times’.

Among them is, of course, Daniele Santarelli, the 39-year-old head coach of the Croatian women’s national team since 2018. Santarelli is the coach of the Italian top team Imoco Volley Conegliano as well, club world champions in 2019, and he is looking forward to this summer and to working again with the best Croatian players.

Daniele Santarelli and Lucija Mlinar portrayed during EuroVolley 2019 in Budapest, Hungary

“In these difficult moments when the whole world of sport is suffering because of the pandemic, we are happy with the very thought that we will play the European Championship in Croatia this summer. It is a privilege for us and we are proud to be one of the hosts of this important competition. This summer will be extremely important for the sport in general and especially for Volleyball. The Croatian Volleyball Federation has been doing a good job in recent years, and EuroVolley will be a real reward for Croatian Volleyball. We are aware that the level of competition will be extremely demanding and difficult, but we have the whole summer to prepare in the right way, through the competitions that precede the European Championship, i.e. the FIVB Challenger Cup and the CEV European Golden League.”

Lucija Mlinar, a 25-year-old outside hitter, who this season plays for the Italian team Bartoccini Fortinfissi Perugia, for which she signed after great seasons in Dresden, Germany and at Hungary's Békéscsabai and Mladost Zagreb, also cannot wait to see her teammates from the national team in Zadar. “I think that hosting the group stage of EuroVolley is a great opportunity for all of us. We just hope we can play in front of our fans, which would be an extra wind in the back of our game. Playing one of the groups in Zadar will be a nice promotion for Volleyball, for the city of Zadar, for Croatia. We will do our best to achieve the best possible result at the European Championship, both for us individually and for the entire Croatian Volleyball family!”

For further information, visit the official event website

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