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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Wednesday, 25 August 2021

EuroVolley 2021 in Zadar: Croatia into Last 16, Takes 2nd in Group C

August 25, 2021 -  The latest from EuroVolley 2021 in Zadar as the Croatia women's volleyball team advances to the round of 16 as the 2nd-placed team in Group C. Croatia lost to Italy in the match for first place on Wednesday night. 

The Croatia women's volleyball team recorded its first defeat in Group C at the European Championship in Zadar.

After the victories against Switzerland (3:0), Belarus (3:0), Slovakia (3:0), and Hungary (3:1), Croatia lost to Italy 0:3 (15:25, 23:25, 14:25) in a duel that decided the group winner. 

Croatia was outplayed in three sets by the current World Championship finalists. However, as the set difference and the point-difference are seen before the victory, Italy must confirm that first place spot against Switzerland.

Italy is unquestionably one of the largest national teams in European Championship history, with seven medals won, including the 2007 and 2009 gold medals. What is even more fascinating is that Itlay has finished among the top eight national teams in the last 20 European Championships. They won bronze two years ago, after losing to Serbia in the semifinal. Serbia also stood in their way in the 2018 World Cup final and the quarterfinal of the recent Olympic Games. 

In the event of a convincing defeat, Croatia could still mathematically take first in Group C, but such an outcome is not at all realistic. It is certain, therefore, that Croatia will move from second place to the second round. 

Italy will thus take first place going into the round of 16 in Belgrade, where they will play against the fourth-placed team from Group A on August 30, while Croatia will play against the third-placed team (Belgium, Russia, or France) from Group A as the second-placed team. The match is scheduled for August 29.

Croatia could meet the European and world champions Serbia in the potential quarterfinal. 

The round of 16 is also played in Bulgaria, where the teams from the first to the fourth place from groups B and D will meet.

Source: Jutarnji List

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Wednesday, 25 August 2021

EuroVolley 2021 in Zadar: Croatia Secures At Least 2nd in Group C!

August 25, 2021 - After defeating Hungary on Tuesday, Croatia has secured at least 2nd place in Group C at the EuroVolley 2021 in Zadar! 

In the 4th round of the European Championship's Group C in Zadar, the Croatia women's volleyball team achieved its fourth victory, winning 3-1 in sets (25-19, 21-25, 25-17, 25-21) against Hungary.

Although they lost the first set, Croatia achieved their goal and secured one of the first two spots in Group C. On Wednesday at 9 pm, they will play against Italy for the winner of the group.

Like against Slovakia on Sunday, Croatia fell asleep at the start of the match, and Hungary took a 6-3 lead.  In the middle of the first set, Hungary had a four-point advantage (14-10). However, Croatia's captain Samanta Fabris soon served and brought her team to a 16-15 advantage with five points in a row. In that wave, Croatia soon reached an advantage of 2-3 points, and in the end, convincingly won the first set 25-19.

After entering the second set equal, Hungary scored four points in a row for 12-8 on Pekarik's serve for the first time, and after Croatia's return to 14-14, Hungary's 4-0 series followed, this time on Gyimes' serve. Unfortunately, Croatia could not catch up, thus losing their first set at the European Championship.

In the third set, Croatia played more engaged in the block and defense, which gave the result. However, the key was a large series of eight consecutive points won on Fabris' serve, which increased their advantage from 14-12 to an unattainable 22-12.

Croatia controlled the 4th set from the very beginning and was up with a convincing 20-14 before Hungary reduced it to 20-17 with three consecutive points and threatened to turn it around. Fortunately, that did not happen, and Croatia took the final set. 

Croatia leads the standings with four victories, Italy is second with three victories and no defeats, Hungary follows in 3rd with 1-3, Belarus and Switzerland have 1-2, and Slovakia is in last with 0-3.

Source: 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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