Denmark and Finland win in straight sets on opening day of NEVZA European qualifier
News from the Zonal Associations
Brøndby, Denmark, December 19, 2016. Both Denmark’s and Finland’s U16 girls’ and U17 boys’ national teams won their opening matches in straight sets at the NEVZA qualifier where a ticket to the Final Round of next year’s inaugural CEV U16 Women and U17 Men Volleyball European Championship is at stake.
Denmark vs. Iceland 3-0 (25-10, 25-10, 25-12)
Denmark and Iceland locked horns in the opening match of the tournament. The young home stars did not leave Iceland any chances in the match. Strong and stable service throughout the match laid the foundations for a comprehensive 3-0 victory by the Danes.
Denmark head coach Mats Björkman: “We almost did not make any service mistakes, and that made it extremely hard for Iceland. The girls did a really good job today. We were well prepared and able not to let Iceland come back in to the match at any point. We had all players in action at least for one set, so I am very happy with the beginning of this tournament.”
Iceland head coach Daniele Mario Capriotti: “This is a big learning experience for all of us. It is the first time the girls are playing 6 on 6, as they usually play 4 vs. 4. For that reason we naturally have to take it one point at a time. The girls tried their best, but Denmark were too strong today. I think it is a really good idea to have a tournament for this young age group.”
Iceland vs. Finland 0-3 (6-25, 8-25, 9-25)
Finland’s girls were dominant in every aspect of their opening match against Iceland as well. The strong and almost flawless Finnish service gave Iceland a hard time. And when the team from the volcano island got the ball in motion, the Finnish spikes were sharp, their blocks were solid and their win never in doubt.
Finland head coach Heikki Kosonen: “The match went according to plan. The girls played solid with a high level of energy. I am glad we had every player on the team on court today. It is important to get rid of the tension you always feel at the beginning of a tournament.”
Iceland head coach Daniele Mario Capriotti: “It is difficult to say what did not function in the match as there are three worlds between them and us. Finland are a very good team, and this is a very good experience for us. We learn a lot, and see how the defence is a key to the match.”
Denmark vs. Iceland 3-0 (25-12, 25-23, 25-16)
Denmark were the first team to shake off the nerves and built their win relying on high service pressure and quality reception. Iceland were close to making a strong comeback in the second set going from 4-13 to 18-all, but Denmark eventually won the match in straight sets.
Denmark head coach Christian Hesselberg: “I think we played a really good match. All the guys were able to put high service pressure as we had agreed upon in our tactical preparation. That is a good weapon. We were challenged in the second set where we weren’t aggressive enough in our setting and spikes. Big credit goes to the guys in reception since they provided the best possible options for our setter.”
Iceland head coach Borja Gonzalez Vicente: “It was tough for us as the guys on our team are very young for this age group. They do not have a lot experience. But I think they did good and gained some quality experience and showed in the second set that they belong in here. But in the end, Denmark were the better team today.”
Iceland vs. Finland 0-3 (6-25, 10-25, 10-25)
The Finnish boys followed in the footsteps of their fellow countrywomen. With a very strong and controlled effort, Finland was obviously superior to Iceland’s boys and won in straight sets.
Finland head coach Aapo Rantanen: “It was a great start to the tournament. We played good in almost every aspect of the game. We kept it simple as agreed and stuck to our game plan throughout the match. I expect us to keep playing good the coming days, and then we have to see how it goes and where this will take us.”
Iceland head coach Borja Gonzalez Vicente: “We faced a really strong and professional team in this match. I think that Finland are the strongest side in this tournament. To be honest, we didn’t have a chance today.”