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HomeSports"Everyone wants to scalp us." The main contenders for the title...

“Everyone wants to scalp us.” The main contenders for the title of the European Volleyball Championship.

Date: April 17, 2024 Time: 08:35:13

The men’s European Championship begins in the middle of the final phase of the women’s team. The 24 teams are based in eight cities in Italy, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Israel. The best 16 will advance to the final phase: the semi-finals and the matches for the medals will be held in Rome. We talk about the groups and leaders of this Euro.

How did the 2021 European champions face the tournament?

Group A: Italy (hosts), Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Serbia, Switzerland

After fourth place in the Nations League, Ferdinando de Giorgi’s charges won the Wagner Memorial, an annual friendly tournament between the strongest teams. In 2023, the 2021 European champions were resisted by leading Poland, strong Slovenia and troubled France. Usually, personnel issues are resolved at these “transit” championships – they look at the main contenders for the first team.

De Giorgi made the most of this option: the 19-year-old diagonal Alessandro Bovolenta, son of the famous blocker Vigor Bovolenta (Olympic bronze medalist and European champion, who died in 2012 after a heart attack), will go to the Eurocup. At the Wagner Memorial, the debutant of the national team fully coped with the role of a player, leaving Yuri Romano, and in the final version of the team he will replace Fabrizio Gironi – the bench from the League of Nations brought the team only three points. .

Alessandro Bovolenta in the Italian national team

Photo: Davide Di Lalla/Zuma/TASS

“The choice fell on Bovolenta, who was part of this group at the beginning of the season for a week before going to play for the U-21 team. I want to thank Gironi, who was important throughout the summer and always gave his soul. It was not easy to inform him of this decision, ”he explained to Giorgi.

At the Wagner Memorial, the Italians faced France (3-0), lost with the subsidiary against Slovenia and defeated Poland. Against Nikola Grbic’s six, the entire attacking line looked decent: Bovolenta scored 9 of 16 goals, Bottolo 10 of 11, Daniele Lavia 12 of 17. The first pace was 15 of 18. Which should clearly inspire confidence. in the selection and fear in the rivals of the group.

Aleksandar Atanasevich in the Serbian national team

Photo: Krzysztof Porebski/Zuma/TASS

Serbia seems to be the second strongest and most powerful team here. And this despite the disastrous Nations League, where the Euro 2019 champions came ninth. There were reasons for this: the star Alexander Atanasevich, who was resting after the club season, was absent from the team. Thus, he will replenish the already fighting forces with Marko Podrashchanin, Drazen Luburic, Urosh Kovacevic, Marko Ivovich and Petar Krsmanovich, the new Gazprom-Ugra bloc. “I’m not saying that anyone underestimates us now, but almost no one believes that we can be successful. I don’t want to promise medals. We are far from that, but I have to promise a great fight in the group,” said coach Igor Kolakovic, who won bronze as coach of Serbia at the 2013 European Championships.

The training camp, where the Serbs did not have a friendly match with Turkey, is also not indicative – Marko Ivovich stayed in Belgrade. Kolakovic’s men lost 2-3 and 0-3. For Serbia, Atanasevich scored 17 points, Miran Kuindzic 16 and captain Kovacevic nine. Already against the Czech Republic, the Serbs looked brighter: they won the matches 3-0 and 3-2. Former Lokomotiv striker Luburic and Aleksandar Nedelkovich hammered.

Sokolov returned to Konstantinov’s team after a public fight

Group B: Bulgaria (hosts), Croatia, Finland, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine

Peace in the Bulgarian national team: Tsvetan Sokolov returns to the team after a conflict with Plamen Konstantinov. Diagonal supposedly left without warning, without telling anyone. As a result, he did not appear in the League of Nations. The coach didn’t like it very much. “Towards the end of the club season we agreed to return to the question of the national team. The season ended, but he never called,” Tsvetan replied. But the conflict was resolved and a week ago the attacker, together with Plamen, was seen in a photo session on the occasion of the arrival of the Euro Cup in Varna, where the group stage will be played.

Plamen Konstantinov, Bulgaria coach

Photo by: RIA Novosti

According to Konstantinov, the team played five control matches and looks good. Plamen shared his goals, some on a grand scale. “The task is to fight for the first place in the group. Ukraine had a good World Cup, they are a progressive team and a serious contender. Slovenia is a three-time world champion and runner-up at the last European Championship, which is no coincidence. It would be nice to reach the quarterfinals. This would be a step forward. Goals that are too high only add unnecessary jitters to the team.

Our desire is to return to the leadership positions in world volleyball, but this is a long process. There is light. Some Bulgarian clubs have started working seriously with teenagers. It will also feed the first team because we don’t have equal players in certain positions. Our sport desperately needs a step forward to restore faith in Bulgarian volleyball,” added Plamen.

And it really is time. After Konstantinov’s third appointment to the position of coach, Bulgaria, like the previous year, he only played two games and, in principle, it is not surprising. The world of the two leaders should encourage the team.

In addition to the second place in the Wagner Memorial should cheer Slovenia after the failure in the League of Nations. The core of the team has not changed for a long time and is becoming more and more experienced. Gheorghe Cretu’s team will go to the Euro Cup with an eternal trinity in attack: Klemen Cebul, Rok Mozic and Tine Urnaut will look for the third consecutive final and the first gold in the Euro Cup. They will be perfectly complemented by 18-year-old national team rookie Nick Mujanovic: while the Slovenians’ regular main winger Tonchek Stern is unavailable with a hip injury.

Tine Urnaut in the Slovenian national team

Photo: volleyballworld.com

“The goal in the group is first place. This is because the schedule is a bit easier later on. If all goes well, they will be able to beat the French in the quarterfinals. This should be our first goal. Playing the group stage as hard as possible, not losing points against teams that are just below us. The group is not easy; Ukraine and Bulgaria will be extremely dangerous, but the rest will want to scalp us. But our task is to go out on the field in every group game and show 100% why we are favourites”, said point guard Gregor Ropret.

Will Poland’s failure at home affect the outcome of the Eurocup?

Group C: North Macedonia (hosts), Czech Republic, Denmark, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland

A month ago, Polish volleyball players impressively won the Nations League in Gdansk, and after ten days of vacation they met at the training camp in Zakopane. They spent almost two weeks of intensive training there, and the effect of heavy loads in the gym became visible last weekend during the Wagner Memorial in Krakow: the Whites and Reds failed: they lost to Slovenia (0: 3), issued the Olympic champions against France (3:1) and lost against the world champions Italy (1:3). Then Grbic worried not about the results, but about the state of health of the players – Mateusz Benek flew out.

Poland coach Nikola Grbic

Photo: Pawel Piotrowski/Zuma/TASS

“After the Nations League final in Gdansk we knew there was a problem, but not that serious. Additional tests were subsequently carried out and we were still waiting for confirmation of the diagnosis from the doctors in Berlin. Returning to the field in such a situation would be too risky. If Mateusz had played the Eurocup, everything would have happened too fast. His injury would have worsened and then he would have had to face surgery. After that, he would have three to four months of rehabilitation. I didn’t want to risk anything”, explains Grbic in an interview with Przegląd Sportowy Onet.

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Shock therapy didn’t work. How Poland won the Volleyball Nations League for the first time in history

During the Wagner Memorial other tops suffered minor injuries: Lukasz Kaczmarek had ankle problems, Jakub Kochanowski had shoulder problems. True, already in the last match before the European Championship against Ukraine, Poland played with their leaders and won (3-2).

Olympic champions still without Ngapeth?

Group D: Israel (host), France, Greece, Portugal, Romania, Turkey

The worst at the Wagner Memorial was the French team, which is having a lackluster season. He miraculously jumped to the Nations League Final Eight, but even there he only finished in the top eight. In Poland, Andrea Giani’s boys lost again to their direct competitors. Without Erwin Ngapeth, who is still recovering from a knee injury and preparing to move to Turkey’s Hulkbank, the French seem confused and do not show much enthusiasm on the pitch. Ngapet, by the way, flew to Krakow and even visited the place a couple of times. But nothing spectacular was shown. What can be repeated in the European Championship, where Erwin flies, but it is not a fact that he will play a lot.

France men’s team

Photo: volleyballworld.com

France, the host country, has 100% places in the Olympic Games, so the next European Championship will be their last tournament this year. And for Giani, perhaps the last attempt to reach Paris. Although with such a group, the 2015 European champions and reigning Tokyo Olympic champions will have no difficulty reaching at least the quarterfinals.

For convenience, the “Championship” published here the schedule of all group stage matches.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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