All three medallists of the men’s 2019 CEV Volleyball European Championship are still in contention for the podium at the ongoing EuroVolley 2021 after the two semifinal fixtures were determined on Tuesday and Wednesday. Four straight-set quarterfinals, played in Gdansk/Sopot and Ostrava, set Poland against Slovenia and Serbia against Italy in Saturday’s battles for the spots in the continental final.
Poland v Slovenia and Serbia v Italy in EuroVolley semis
Straight-set quarterfinals determine Europe’s best four
Published 07:13, 16 Sep 2021
Defending champions Serbia were the first team to qualify for the semifinals. With 15 points by 2019 MVP and their leading scorer Uros Kovacevic, the Serbs took a 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 27-25) victory over the Netherlands at the Ergo Arena in Poland on Tuesday. Kovacevic upped his tournament tally to 107 points, which puts him in fifth place on the scorers chart, the highest position among all players still in contention. However, to finish on top of the ranking, the Serbian star will need to score at least 67 points in the remaining two matches to surpass the 173-point tally of current leader Nimir Abdel-Aziz of the Netherlands.
Later that evening in Gdansk/Sopot, hosts Poland, reigning world champions and bronze medallists of EuroVolley 2019, delighted the home crowd with a 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-19) shutout of Russia. In front of the sold-out stands, Wilfredo Leon and Bartosz Kurek scored 14 points each to share the top scorer honours of the match with Russia’s Egor Kliuka.
Italy hammered out a 3-0 (25-13, 25-18, 25-19) blowout of Germany in the first Ostrava quarterfinal on Wednesday. Alessandro Michieletto produced the match-high 13 points for the winners.
EuroVolley 2019 runners-up Slovenia booked the last vacancy in the semifinals after snatching a 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 27-25) win over hosts Czechia. Opposite Toncek Stern put away 19 points towards the victory to top the scorers chart of the game.
Saturday’s semifinal programme at the Spodek hall in Katowice will start with a remake of one of the 2019 semifinals, in which Slovenia mastered a four-set victory over Poland in Paris. This time the Poles will try to get back at the Slovenes in front of their fans, starting at 17:30 local time. Then, at 21:00, Serbia will continue the defence of their title in a clash with Italy for the other spot in Sunday’s gold medal match.