Finland’s girls and boys claim top of the charts in NEVZA European qualifier
News from the Zonal Associations
Brøndby, Denmark, December 20, 2016. Finland’s girls and boys are still undefeated in 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 after completion of the second competition day in Brøndby.
Finland vs. Denmark 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-17, 25-22)
In a very evenly contested match with high-level Volleyball on display, especially taking into consideration the young age of the players in action, Finland had the most stable reception and made very few mistakes, thereby claiming a 3-1 victory over Denmark.
Finland head coach Heikki Kosonen: “It was a very tough match as we expected it to be. Denmark played very well and made our game difficult. It was the little things that became decisive today. And with a look at the stats, you see that the reception was the key point in this match. We did well with our serve and played bravely.”
Denmark head coach Mats Björkman: “In matches like these you cannot afford to relax just one second, then you are punished. Finland made very few mistakes and we had to create all of our opportunities. I think we played a really nice match, we hit well, and the girls fought with all of their hearts. A bit more consistency in our service and reception, and we have a better chance of winning against a really well-playing Finnish team.”
Iceland vs. Denmark 0-3 (12-25, 18-25, 15-25)
The Icelandic team was kind of transformed compared to Monday’s matches and had levelled up their Volleyball. Though, the Danish players were more stable in reception and service, and Denmark secured their first win of the day and second in the tournament.
Iceland head coach Daniele Mario Capriotti: “We played considerably better than in the first match. We actually played Volleyball today. With the improvement from yesterday till today, I am sure this group of players can reach a much higher level. They need a lot of matches like this on their way. It is nice to see the girls learn. My compliments to Denmark.”
Denmark head coach Mats Björkman: “The match against Finland was still hard mentally in the heads of the girls, and they had to push themselves to find the right level. We chose to play with the girls who did not play against Finland and were not so tired in their legs. They did as planned, but had to fight to keep their energy. When they have the right energy, they play at a great level, but naturally the energy drops every now and then.”
Finland vs. Denmark 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-15)
Both teams had to fight a bit to find their best level in the match. When they did that, it was a quite even affair, but Denmark had too many lows which Finland took advantage of and built their win on skilful blocking, stable reception, and wise attacks.
Finland head coach Aapo Rantanen: “I am happy that the match developed in our favour. We made too many mistakes in our service, and that is definitely something we can do better. Otherwise the guys did good things on the court and played as we had agreed upon. I am very happy with the win.”
Denmark head coach Christian Hesselberg: “I think we played an okay match, but our bottom level was too low in long periods of the match and that is costly. On the other hand, Finland are very stable. The guys become afraid of being aggressive when they make a service mistake. I take the good things with me, and we will be back stronger tomorrow.”
Iceland vs. Denmark 0-3 (15-25, 7-25, 9-25)
The young Danish home heroes were looking to recover from the defeat they had suffered earlier in the day against Finland. A win against Iceland was needed, if the Danes wanted to stay in contention for a direct ticket to the Final Round of the European Championship. Denmark delivered and downed Iceland in straight sets 3-0.
Denmark head coach Christian Hesselberg: “We needed to come back after the loss against Finland. We tried to make some changes, still making sure we kept a high level. I think the guys played amazing in the second and third sets, they kept a high service pressure and everything just came together. We got to use a lot of players, and all the guys delivered. I am proud of them.”
Iceland head coach Borja Gonzalez Vicente: “It was really difficult for the guys tonight. They are young and unexperienced, and when you are down by so many points it is hard to keep playing. We tried to find the motivation and made a lot of substitutions, but it is a learning process for all of us.”