2018 FIVB World Championship – Men’s European Qualifier
- May 23 to June 4
No. 19 Spain pulled off a five-set upset of homestanding No. 13 Czech Republic to stay atop Pool F alongside Finland, which cruised past Sweden in a sweep. Cyprus garnered its first win of the tournament, topping Northern Ireland 3-0.
Spain’s upset makes it a harder road for the host Czechs, who now must win both of its remaining matches to have a chance to make the World Championships.
Finland 3, Sweden 0
Finland outblocked Sweden 11-3 and hit at a 61 percent cli, while five players turned in double-digit point tallies in a 25-14, 25-19, 25-21 win.
Elviss Krastins (14), Sauli Sinkkonen (13), Olii-Pekka Ojansivu (11), Niklas Seppanen (10) and Tommi Siirila split the load for the Finnish side. Sinkkonen put up five blocks, while Siirila added four. Krastins turned in 13 kills.
“It was a typical game for us because our style is based on good defense and we are trying to fight for every ball. It was a good game for us,” Ojansivu said.
Sweden’s Erik Sundberg led all scorers with 16 points, including 14 kills. Viktor Lindberg followed with 10.
Cyprus 3, Northern Ireland 0
Achilleas Petrakidis scored 15 points, including 13 kills, while Cyprus capitalized on 32 Northern Ireland miscues in a 25-20, 25-16, 25-22 win, its first of the tournament.
The teams managed six blocks apiece, and were separated by just one kill, but Cyprus committed just 20 errors to make up the difference in the match.
Nikolaos Eleftheriou added nine points for Cyprus.
“We are happy for this win,” Cyprus’ Ioannis Kontos said. “We have two more games and we will do our best to win them too.”
Peter Stewart managed 10 points, all on kills, to pace Northern Ireland.
Spain 3, Czech Republic 2
The home crowd of 1300 could not help the Czechs overcome a feisty Spanish attack in a 25-22, 20-25, 22-25, 25-21, 15-10 loss Friday.
Spain led Set 1 from start to finish with help from seven Czech miscues. The home team returned the favor with a 25-20 win in Set 2 and overcame a mid-set deficit in Set 3 to grab a 25-22 win and take a 2-0 lead in the match. Spain evened the score with a 25-21 Set 4 win, including three blocks and three aces. The Spanish carried the momentum into the 15-10 finale, with 10 points coming on kills, which the team put down at a 67 percent efficiency.
“We are extremely happy for this win,” Spanish captain Jorge Fernandez Valcarcel said. “I think we deserved it because we did not give it up after losing the third set and we fought till the end. It was a great fight.”
Andres Villena paced the Spanish attack with 22 points, including a match-high 20 kills. Miguel Fornes (18), Juan Manuel Gonzalez (13), Fernandez Valcarcel (12) and Sergio Noda Blanco (11) also added double-digit point tallies. Gonzalez put down 11 kills, while Fornes added 10 kills, four blocks and four aces and Noda Blanco managed 10 kills. Fernandez Valcarcel put up five of the team’s 12 blocks.
Jan Hadrava and Michal Finger posted 14 points apiece, while Adam Bartos added 11 points. Finger tallied 10 kills followed by Hadrava’s 10 and three aces.
Spain disappoint 1,300 attending @CzechVolleyball fans with 3-2 win meaning that they draw level with the home team on 7 points #fivbmenswch pic.twitter.com/fR28bKdSmL
— CEVolleyball (@CEVolleyball) May 26, 2017
Pool F in CZE