Friday, 27 August 2021

Croatia against France in EuroVolley 2021 Round of 16 in Belgrade

August 27, 2021 - Croatia will play against France in the EuroVolley 2021 round of 16 in Belgrade on Sunday. 

On the brink of defeat, Belarus came to a victory against Slovakia in four sets 3-2 (18-25, 23-25, 25-23, 30-28, 15-12), winning a spot in the European Championship round of 16. Slovakia was thus left without a spot in the knockout phase.

Italy easily defeated Switzerland 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 27-25) and confirmed first place in Group C, which was hosted by Zadar. Croatia won second place in Group C with four wins and one defeat, and will thus play against France in the round of 16 on Sunday, August 29, in Belgrade.

By winning third place, Belarus will play against Russia, and fourth-placed Hungary will play against Serbia. Italy will face Belgium as a rival.

The first round of 16 matches are scheduled for Saturday when Bulgaria-Sweden and the Netherlands-Germany will play in Plovdiv. The next day, Turkey-Czech Republic, Poland-Ukraine, Croatia-France, and Serbia-Hungary are scheduled. On Monday, Italy-Belgium and Russia-Belarus will close the round of 16. 

“At the beginning of the summer, we had a goal, and that was to reach second place in the group. In my opinion, this is our best result. This is the reality, we showed our game. Our goal was to reach first place among the teams that are not at the best level. We have achieved that and we are happy about that. We won without losing a set against teams that are not at the highest level of their game. We are happy with this round of the competition because we showed some really good moments in our game. But some of our mistakes are continuous. If we want to be at a better level, we have to play with teams that are at a higher level than ours. Losing to Italy was hard for us to accept, because it is not easy to lose after four consecutive victories. Italy is in the best shape and we are happy to have had the opportunity to play a match against them. Our job is not done. We are proud and happy with what we have shown so far, but we still have a lot of work to do," revealed Daniele Santarelli, coach of the women's volleyball team.

Croatia will continue its journey and travel to Belgrade to play the EuroVolley 2021 last 16. 

“From the beginning of the summer and throughout the entire Golden European League, which was very good preparation for EuroVolley 2021, our goal was second place in the group. We have achieved that. We knew from the beginning that Italy is at a higher level than all the teams that are in our group. They showed that even though they came a little demoralized after the Olympics. But this group served to restore the self-confidence they lacked. We are satisfied and we are preparing for the future. I am proud of my team. During these four months, there used to be difficult moments, but also more beautiful ones. I am happy that I was able to share everything with them. I have to praise all the players. This is the first big European competition and championship for some players, and their first serious national team competition for the first time. We had a good first part and we are happy to see that we have room for further progress. I know we can do even better and we are still working on it. The time we spent here in Zadar, which is one of my favorites in Croatia, made our preparations easier. It was easier for us to relax and forget about sports obligations, at least on days off by the sea," concluded captain Samanta Fabris. 

Rene Sain, Ema Strunjak, Božana Butigan, Nikolina Božičević, Laura Miloš, Lucija Mlinar, Matea Ikić, Beta Dumančić, Samanta Fabris, Martina Šamadan, Klara Perić, Lea Deak, Dinka Kulić and Karla Klarić play for the Croatia women's team. The professional staff includes national team coach Daniele Santarelli, first assistant coach Diego Flisi, second assistant coach Simone Truzzi, fitness coach Daniele Alpi, physiotherapist Francesco Zucca, team manager Frane Žanić, team analyst Marko Greco and assistant coach Mirela Delić.

Source: HOS.CVF, HRT

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Sunday, 22 August 2021

EuroVolley 2021: Croatia Beats Slovakia, Continues Winning Streak in Zadar!

August 22, 2021 - In the 3rd round of the European Volleyball Championship in Zadar (2021 EuroVolley), Croatia beats Slovakia 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-13), reaching its third victory in Group C. 

The Croatia women's volleyball team recorded its third victory without losing a set in Group C at the European Championship, which is hosted by Zadar.

After victories against Switzerland and Belarus, Daniele Santarelli's team defeated Slovakia 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-13. Slovakia took the 10-6 lead, followed by an advantage of 19-12. Croatia finally woke up, Klara Perić took the serve and Croatia achieved a 6-0 series which kept them alive in the first set. After one point went to Slovakia, Croatia achieved a new series and won the first set 25-21. 

Croatia continued its momentum at the beginning of the second set. On Božena Butigan's serve, they scored six consecutive points for 8-1 and increased their advantage to 24-11. A similar situation happened in the third set. Croatia took the lead early, made it 14-5, and easily brought the game to an end. 

Croatia thus leads the group with a maximum of nine points from three matches, while Slovakia is still without points after the second game.

Croatia will play the next match in Group C on August 24 at 5 pm against Hungary, and on August 25 at 9 pm against Italy. A victory on Tuesday would secure one of the first two places in the group, while Wednesday would be the match for first place in the group.  

A better position in the group ensures a nominally weaker opponent in the round of 16.

Zadar is the host of Group C at the European Women's Volleyball Championship, while Belgrade, Plovdiv, and Cluj-Napoca are the other host cities. Before the start of the tournament, Croatia was expected to finish 2nd in the group. 

Source: HRT

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Saturday, 21 August 2021

2021 EuroVolley: Croatia Women's Volleyball Team Beats Belarus in Zadar

August 21, 2021 - In the second round of the 2021 EuroVolley in Zadar, the Croatia women's volleyball team defeated Belarus 3:0 (25:19, 25:23, 25:15).

After beating Switzerland without losing a set at the opening of the tournament at Krešimir Ćosić Hall in Višnjik, Croatia was dominant in the second match as well.

At the beginning of the match, Croatia fell behind Belarus, but they finally equalized at 10:10 in the first set. However, once Croatia finally took the lead, Belarus came back ahead at 17:16. Fortunately, Belarus couldn't hang onto their lead much longer, as Croatia won the first set 25:19.

The end of the second set was much more uncertain, where Croatia was up by 4 points in the middle of the set. Belarus managed to come back and equalize, but with two consecutive points, Croatia celebrated 25:23. After that, Croatia dominated the third set, winning 25:15.

"We are happy to have won three points: our second game, our second victory. We concentrate day by day to try to do our best and grow from game to game every day. In the second set, we gave them a little more space to close the gap. We still have some oscillations, but we are working to have the best possible continuity. We are satisfied with today's 3 points," said captain Samanta Fabris, whose ace point at the end of the second set gave them the confidence to win. 

"I am satisfied with today's match. We played great games both today and Thursday, especially today when we were much more stable both in the block and in defense. We also made fewer mistakes. In the second set, we made mistakes that allowed Belarus to reach our advantage, but we took the opportunity to win, and in the third set, we took advantage of their drop in concentration and finally won. Slovakia is waiting for us tomorrow, and now we are going to the hotel for dinner and an analysis of the next opponent. There is no rest, we are going to work, and we hope that tomorrow's game will end just as well as today," said Božana Butigan.

"A very strange match. We had good moments, but also a lot of unforced mistakes. We played against Belarus at the beginning of the summer, but we certainly have the capacity and opportunity for an even better game. In the last set, we had three big mistakes that we cannot tolerate if we want to play against the strongest teams in Europe. I’m happy to win, but I’m not happy with the level of our game. I know my players, and I know the level of play we can show. Tomorrow we will have another crucial match against Slovakia. I hope that we will continue with the victories because it is of great importance to us," coach Daniele Santarelli pointed out.

Croatia plays their next game of Group C tomorrow against Slovakia at 5 pm, followed by Hungary on August 24 at 5 pm and Italy on August 25 at 9 pm.

Source: HRT

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Friday, 20 August 2021

Croatia Opens EuroVolley in Zadar with a Win against Switzerland!

August 20, 2021 - The Croatia women's volleyball team opens EuroVolley in Zadar with a win against Switzerland! Up next, Croatia faces Belarus on Saturday. 

In the European Women's Volleyball Championship first match of Group C, hosted in Zadar, Croatia defeated Switzerland with a convincing 3-0 (25:20, 25:19, 25:21).

In the Krešimir Ćosić Hall in Višnjik, the Croatia women's team opened the European competition with a celebration against Switzerland and without losing a set after 71 minutes of play. In the first set, middle blocker and freshly 21-year-old Božana Butigan had a 100 percent performance in the attack by scoring five points.

Daniele Santarelli's team was decisive for the outcome in the middle of the first and second sets, while Switzerland offered the fiercest resistance in the third set, in which they had a 12:8 lead. However, another great period followed for Croatia, winning 12 of the next 15 points and taking the 20:15 lead to calmly bring the match to an end by a maximum of three points.

Laura Miloš with 18 points and captain Samanta Fabris with 13 points were the most effective for Croatia against Switzerland. 

This is Croatia's fifth consecutive victory over Switzerland in the last ten years.

"I couldn't sleep all night because of the excitement. This is the first European Championship for me, the first game. The victory was significant to us, and I am overjoyed that we started this tournament with a victory. We are focused on the opponent who is coming to us next because we are going from game to game," said Miloš after the match.

"The first match is never easy. Everyone is nervous, so we didn’t know what awaited us during this match. Our game was not the best, but at certain moments we had outstanding actions. Some situations, we can still correct, even though we don’t have much time. This was a good start; we showed a good game, although, in the first set, we did not have a strong defense and blocks," said coach Daniele Santarelli. 

Before the match, the European Championship opening ceremony was held, which was attended by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Andrej Plenković, accompanied by Minister of Sport and Tourism Nikolina Brnjac, Minister of Defense Mario Banožić, and Minister of Labor and Pensions, Family and Social Policy Josip Aladrović.

Italy and Belarus, and Hungary and Slovakia will meet today in Group C. Croatia will play against Belarus in the second round on August 21. Group A is played in Belgrade, Group B in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and Group D in Cluj, Romania.

Source: HRT

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Wednesday, 18 August 2021

European Women's Volleyball Championship Begins: Croatia Hosts Group C in Zadar

August 18, 2021 - On Thursday, August 19, the Croatia volleyball team will play the first game of the European Women's Volleyball Championship against Switzerland in Zadar.

The Croatian Volleyball Federation points out that they are ready, and their goal is to advance to the second phase of the competition, reports

"We are healthy and ready for Thursday; there are still nuances left. We have had excellent preparations. We need to think gradually from game to game. I hope that we will win second place here, which is our goal, and get to the second phase of the competition in that position. I think that in Serbia we have a real chance to stay as long as possible. The first goal is to pass the group and then secure a trip to the World Cup, where we haven’t been for ten years. The girls are motivated and eagerly await the start of the championship," said Croatian Volleyball Federation expert secretary Frane Žanić.

Croatia opens the championship on August 19 with a match against Switzerland, followed by Belarus on August 21, Slovakia on August 22, Hungary on August 24, and Italy on August 25.

Croatia is looking forward to the start of the championship.

"We are only two days away from the start of the European Championship. We are all very excited. We have been preparing for this competition for the last two months, so we can't wait for it to start. We will play the first game against Switzerland. This is a great competition at a high level; I believe that all teams are strong and dangerous. We will give 100 percent in every game. I hereby invite everyone to follow us on TV," said national team member Nikolina Božičević.

"We have been preparing together for almost three months; a very long cycle is behind us. We have played the European League, many friendly matches, and now we have the European Championships waiting for us for the first time. So we are very excited and well prepared," added Lucija Mlinar.

The championship organizers point out that everything is ready for the big sports event in Zadar, which will last until August 26.

"We are in the final details phase, and I can say that we are completely ready. The final inspection of the members of the European Federation delegation is underway. The hall is ready. We only miss our guests, a total of six teams. Together with professional staff and the entire ensemble sent by the European Federation in Zadar, there are 500 people. Thousands of people can stay in the hall at the same time. There are certain contingents of places that must be provided to visiting teams and their family members. The organization is the second part, and one part we must provide for our VIP guests. All those who are interested can contact us; if there is another vacancy, we will be happy to provide it free of charge because there are no regular ticket sales," said Valentina Bifflin, director of the Croatian Volleyball Federation.

Zadar is the host of Group C at the European Women's Volleyball Championship, while Belgrade, Plovdiv, and Cluj-Napoca are the other host cities.

Zadar expects a lot of promotion from EuroVolley and influences young people to start playing volleyball in as many numbers as possible.

"I am glad that we are hosting volleyball. It means a lot to the City of Zadar and the development of sports tourism that we are building. We wish our volleyball players all the best, and we believe they will achieve a good result," said Zadar Mayor Branko Dukić.

The President of the Zadar Sports Association, Snježana Jurinić, also hopes to popularize volleyball.

"I believe that all previous competitions, as well as this European Championship, will popularize volleyball and expand to the entire County and that the City of Zadar will become the leading regional volleyball center. We can already see that women's volleyball has become a sport and enrolls children in volleyball."

The Višnjik Sports Center, where the Eurovolley matches will be played, has shone with new splendor and is fully ready for another big competition. The hall has been decorated and refreshed, along with the auxiliary ones that the national teams will use.

"It is an honor and pleasure to host such a big event. The Croatian Volleyball Federation embraced ŠC Višnjik as its base for preparations and competitions. It shows that all investments in sports infrastructure within ŠC Višnjik are a complete success. The hall looks fantastic and is one of the most beautiful," pointed out the director of ŠC Višnjik Denis Karlovic.

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