The CEV EuroVolley 2019 Men opening match took place on Thursday in Ljubljana. Title-holders Russia cruised to a comfortable 3-1 (25-13, 23-25, 25-17, 25-15) victory over 2019 European Golden League winners Turkey. Russia are obviously the pre-favourites in Pool C, but in the final match of the day MEVZA member and first-time hosts Slovenia underlined their ambitions with an impressive straight sets (25-17, 25-14, 25-19) win against Belarus in front of about 4.000 spectators!
The organisers have sold more than 20,000 tickets for the Pool C matches held in Stožice Arena. „I expect a real Volleyball spectacle and I expect Slovenia will stand for their boys. These players deserve all this support. I am sure we will deliver a successful championship, we are ready”, the President of the Volleyball Federation of Slovenia Metod Ropret said at a media event on Monday.
Slovenia is competing in their eighth European Championship. They were runners-up in 2015 and finished eighth in 2017. Head coach Alberto Giuliani’s squad features in Pool C in Ljubljana, alongside defending champions Russia and European Golden League winners Turkey, EuroVolley rookies North Macedonia, as well as the teams of Belarus and Finland.
Three more MEVZA members will participate in the 2019 edition of the Men’s European Championship: Austria made it to the final round for the first time through qualification. Leading player Alexander Berger is looking forward to Austria’s EuroVolley opener on Friday against co-hosts Belgium in Brussels: „To participate in the European Championship for the first time is a special highlight in each player’s career. I believe that we are well-prepared for the upcoming challenges!”
Austria’s team will clash with Slovakia, another MEVZA member, on Saturday. Slovakia attended nine European Championships. Their best result is a fifth place in 2011. The other sides contesting in Pool B in Brussels and Antwerp are two of the top three teams from the 2017 edition – silver medallists Germany and bronze medal winners Serbia!
The squad of MEVZA member Czech Rupublic feels ready to start their EuroVolley campaign. The three-times champions (1948, 1955 and 1958 – all as Czechoslovakia) will face in the opening match the Ukrainian’s team. Reigning World champions Poland and co-hosts the Netherlands headline Pool D, with matches due to take place in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The teams of Estonia, and Montenegro will be trying to upset their more decorated opponents in an effort to secure a spot in the 8th Finals.
EuroVolley 2019 is one of a kind
The 2019 EuroVolley edition is running from September 12 to 29 in four countries for the first time, namely France (Montpellier, Nantes and Paris), Slovenia (Ljubljana), the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Apeldoorn) and Belgium (Brussels and Antwerp). The number of participating teams has increased from 16 to 24. Each country hosts 15 pool matches, two eighthfinals and a quarterfinal, while Slovenia will also have one semifinal. The second semifinal, the bronze and gold medal matches will take place at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris.
PHOTO © CEV