CEV fot. Piotr Sumara, 24 August 2019
On Saturday, three of the four co-hosts of the history-making CEV EuroVolley 2019 Women celebrated their second straight victories, much to the delight of large, raucous home crowds. Turkey, however, had to stand the furious comeback of Team Finland, who were close to causing a real sensation at Ankara Sports Hall, where earlier in the afternoon Greece beat France 3-0 to claim their first EuroVolley success in 27 years. Hosts Poland and Belgium’s Yellow Tigers were just dominant in their respective Pool B matches with Portugal and Slovenia, while Slovakia and Germany improved their record to two wins in as many matches in Pool D. The only home team to suffer a setback were Hungary, who lost 1-3 the ‘derby’ with Romania, while in Pool C Croatia made amends for Friday’s loss to Azerbaijan through a 3-1 win against Estonia.
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Pool A in Ankara (TUR)
• Greece celebrated a 3-0 victory over France – their first triumph at EuroVolley since the 1991 edition held in Italy, when they beat both France and Albania in the pool phase of the competition.
• It is only their third victory in Europe’s prime competition for national teams. Olga Strantzali and Anthi Vasilantonaki were the top scorers of the game, as France did not produce the same quality performance that had resulted in their sensational victory over Bulgaria on Friday.
• Hosts Turkey had to work hard to celebrate their second success before a partisan and raucous home crowd. The ‘Sultans of the Net’ responded well in the tiebreak to secure a 3-2 victory over Finland.
• The Finns, making their first EuroVolley appearance since 1989, were close to causing a sensation, came back from two sets down and they literally impressed everyone with their blocking and defence game.
Pool B in Lodz (POL)
• Belgium’s Yellow Tigers added a second victory in as many matches to their tally, as they swept aside Slovenia in three sets after doing just the same with Ukraine the day before.
• Playing at the Atlas Arena seems to be a good omen for Belgium, since this is where back in 2014 they secured a historic qualification for the World Championship held that same year in Italy, doing so at the expense of hosts Poland.
• Poland are also yet to lose a set and much to the delight of a huge crowd of almost 8,000 fans, they stormed to a 3-0 victory over rookies Portugal.
• The White-and-Reds conceded only 41 points as they used some of their second lines, with Katarzyna Zaroslinska-Krol top scoring with 18 points.
Pool C in Budapest (HUN)
• After losing at the tiebreak to Azerbaijan on Friday, Croatia fought their way back to edge rookies Estonia 3-1.
• Despite the loss, their second in the tournament, Estonia had something to celebrate – as they claimed their first set win at EuroVolley, doing so at the end of a closely contested third stanza, where they emerged victorious 28-26 before Croatia punished them with a landslide 25-12 win in the fourth.
• After their heavy loss to the Netherlands the day before, Romania came back strong to secure a 3-1 victory in the ‘derby’ with hosts Hungary.
• A crowd of some 3,000 people attended the match that the players coached by Italian expert Luciano Pedullà won after edging Hungary in an extremely close third set.
Pool D in Bratislava (SVK)
• Germany, whose recent EuroVolley record includes silver medals from the 2011 and 2013 editions, celebrated their second straight victory at the arena named after figure skating icon Ondrej Nepela.
• They came back from a slow start, losing the first set 15-25, to claim a 3-1 victory over Spain, while the ‘Leonas del Voley’ suffered their second straight setback in the competition.
• After Friday’s victory over Spain, Slovakia’s home fairy tale continued on Saturday night, when the hosts recorded a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Switzerland.
• Once again, more than 4,000 fans – a record figure for women’s Volleyball in the country – witnessed Karin Palgutova, Nikola Radosova & Co. celebrate a success that paves their way towards reaching the elimination phase – a feat Slovakia have never achieved in their history.
© Polish Volleyball Federation, 2017