Czechia produced the biggest sensation of the men’s 2021 CEV Volleyball European Championship round of 16 by shutting out and knocking out last month’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions France to play against Slovenia in the next elimination round.
Czechia stun Olympic champs at EuroVolley
Poland to clash with Russia in high-profile quarterfinal
Published 05:45, 14 Sep 2021
After three days of heard-fought eighth final battles in Gdansk/Sopot and Ostrava, the last eight of the tournament emerged. Reigning world champions Poland will take on Tokyo silver medallists Russia in a high-profile quarterfinal clash. The Netherlands will challenge defending continental champions Serbia and Italy will face Germany for the remaining final four spots.
In the very last match of the round on Monday evening in Ostrava, hosts Czechia, who had finished fourth in their Pool B, outplayed Pool D winners France, mainly in their blocking game, to deliver a shocking 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 34-32) victory over the new Olympic champs. Jan Hadrava contributed 18 points to the win while France’s Jean Patry was the top scorer of the match on 20.
Just before that at the Ostravar Arena, Croatia’s Leo Andric hammered out nine aces against Slovenia to top the EuroVolley servers chart on a total of 23 aces, but will have to leave the competition as Slovenia took a 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 19-25, 25-12) win. Andric tallied 21 points towards a EuroVolley total of 112. Clemen Cebulj was Slovenia’s highest scorer of the match on 13. Czechia and Slovenia will lock horns for a spot in the semifinals on Wednesday evening, also in Ostrava.
Russia were the first team to claim their berth in the quarterfinals. With 21 points from Egor Kliuka, including four aces, they managed a 3-1 (22-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22) win over neighbours Ukraine at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk/Sopot on Saturday. On Tuesday, at the same venue, the Russians will have to deal with Poland and their fantastic fans, who cheered the home team on to an emphatic 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-14) shutout of Finland. Wilfredo Leon delivered the match high 14 points towards the victory.
The spectators at the Ergo Arena witnessed two dramatic five-setters on Sunday. First, the Netherlands managed to overcome the tough resistance of Portugal to celebrate with a 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 26-24, 20-25, 15-13) victory. Dutch opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz fired an impressive 37 points in the match to total 159 so far at the tournament and stay well in the lead of EuroVolley’s top scorers chart.
Turkey’s Adis Lagumdzija is next on 124, but his 20 points on Sunday were not enough for his team to upset defending champs Serbia. Led by EuroVolley 2019 MVP Uros Kovacevic (18 points), the Serbs fought back from a set down to defeat the Turks by 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 22-25, 25-23, 15-12) and take on the Netherlands in Tuesday’s first quarterfinal.
Also on Sunday, but in Ostrava, Germany took a 3-1 (25-14, 18-25, 25-19, 25-22) win over Bulgaria, despite committing an unthinkable amount of 35 serving errors across the four sets. Moritz Karlitzek also produced six aces towards the match high 19 points, followed by Gyorgy Grozer with three aces within a total of 17 points. In one of Wednesday’s quarterfinals in Ostrava, Germany will go against Italy, who faced few issues in mastering a 3-0 (25-14, 25-13, 25-16) shutout of Latvia, with Daniele Lavia as the match best scorer on 13 points.