CEV, Luxembourg. Turkey and Austria kicked off their qualifying campaigns in Pool C and Pool B respectively, each one of them seizing a 3-0 victory over their opponents. On Tuesday, the players around head coach Nedim Özbey showed better skills in all the components, and deservedly grabbed the win over Bosnia & Herzegovina. The Turkish side entered the competition with high hopes on qualifying, despite being aware that the Qualifier will not be an easy one to win. Meanwhile, the first match of the Qualifier tournament in Pool B set the tone for exciting days ahead as Israel and Austria locked horns in the opening fixture. Both teams showed great motivation and were breathing down each others’ necks. However, the Austrian side were more precise in the decisive moments and could finish all the important balls in their favour. In what was the international debut for head coach Radovan Gacic at the helm of the Austrian national team, his players could get the best out of the game.
• The tactics of leaving some of the players recovering in the gym following their last matches in the Turkish national league, seemed to have been a successful one for the Turks as they stayed better on the court during all the match, outperforming Bosnia & Herzegovina in all aspects of the game.
• 12 aces across the three sets plus a good performance on the block were the key for the win for the Turkish side.
• Bosnia & Herzegovina seemed to have found the right rhythm only in the end of the match, but Turkey stopped their enthusiasm being unstoppable as the third set was unfolding.
• Looking on the bright side, Bosnia and Herzegovina performed a little bit better in reception in comparison to their first match vs Team MKD.
• Burutay Subasi topped the charts with his 19 points for Turkey, while his teammate Adis Lagumdzija contributed with 13.
• For Bosnia & Herzegovina, Adi Osmanovic was the most prolific player on his side of the net again, just as they day before against the hosts of the tournament, recording 8 points.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate Turkey for the win., They showed that they are the better team. They played really good in reception and on the serve. Moreover, they have Adis Lagumdzija who was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he is a world class player,” Almir Colo of Bosnia & Herzegovina said.
On Wednesday, Turkey meet Team MKD, while Bosnia & Herzegovina have a day off.
• Both Israel and Austria caught a good start to the match, with equal performance on attack and playing a cat-and-mouse game.
• Key moment in the match was the change of the lead in the first set with Maximilian Landfahrer contributing the most in these moments and helping his teammates to keep up the positive spirit.
• Although Austria performed better on the serve and block, they also let many reception errors affect their game.
• Tamir Hershko from Israel recorded 17 points despite the loss of his team, while for the winners Alexander Berger scored 15 times.
“We did a very good job as a team,” Austrian star player and top scorer Alexander Berger said. “Israel played extremely well in the first and second sets, but we were able to keep their pace and control the game. I am very happy with this victory. It is very important to start the tournament this way. Of course, the next game with Bulgaria will be a completely different story.”
“It was pretty difficult for us ahead of this tournament, especially mentally because of the situation resulting from the pandemic. We had good conditions at home and worked well. Now I hope that we can show an even better performance against Bulgaria as well as in the second game against Israel. Our goal is clear: we want to qualify – as quickly as possible. Today we did some things well. Nevertheless, we have to talk with the team because there were two or three things that were not quite okay, but which we can certainly do better,” said Radovan Gacic, head coach of Team Austria.
“It is a disappointing loss. Unfortunately, what I feared eventually happened. We made some easy mistakes and the match could have developed in a very different way if we had taken the first set. We were leading but eventually lost it by two points only. It is obvious that our players lack the international experience to close the sets; we have to learn from these losses, but I am satisfied with the performance of my players,” said Israeli coach Noam Katz. “Today we could win. There is no doubt that Bulgaria is above Austria but you can always win with any opponent. Israel’s Volleyball needs these games to move forward and develop.”
“If we had pushed a little more in the first set, the match could have gone a different way,” said Israeli top scorer Tamir Hershko. “However, we still have a long tournament ahead of us and another three matches to play. Bulgaria is certainly better than the Austrian team but we are going to do our best.”
On Wednesday, Austria meet pool favourites Bulgaria at 19.00 local time. The head coach of Austria already has acknowledged the strength of the opponent but also believes his team can cause a surprise.