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Slovenia confirmed its status as a volleyball superpower with a dramatic bronze medal



The European champions are the Poles

Slovenian volleyball players beat the French Olympic champions 3:2 in the fight for third place at the European Championship in Rome. With this, they won their fourth medal in the last five championships of the old continent. Before that, they were silver three times.

The Slovenians outplayed the Olympic champions in the first two sets. The excellent play in the block and the penetration of Roko Možič in the attack were the main reasons that France was not in the lead even once in the first two sets. Pitcher Dejan Vinčić also played well, who joined the national team on Friday after Gregor Ropret’s injury.

The protégés of the former Slovenian coach Andrea Giani came back in the third set, in which the Slovenian block gave way, and they were getting points more and more easily. Even more worrying than the third set was the fourth set, in which France led by seven points at the end and won it smoothly.

But in the decisive set, the Slovenians rallied again. The result was tied at 4:4. The Slovenians then gained a three-point advantage (9:6) and a little later four (12:8). The penultimate point was won by a “cheat” by a thoroughly tired Vinčić, who was seized by cramps in the last set. The final result 15:11 after two hours and twenty minutes was set by the man of the match Možič, who was also the most effective on the field with 26 points.

With this success, the season for the Slovenian national team has not yet ended, because they still have to qualify for the Olympic Games. At the end of the month, they will start the tournament in Japan.

First set: 25:22

The Slovenians started the match with the same line-up as in the previous matches, except that the injured Gregor Ropret was replaced by Vinčić, who joined the national team on Friday. Slovenia started the match better and soon gained a four-point lead (7:3). The advantage did not last long, as the French tied the score at 11:11. Mainly thanks to an excellent block, Slovenia escaped to 21:17, but France caught the connection again at the end (22:21). In the final itself, Rok Možič proved himself, so that the Slovenians won the first set with 25:22. France has lost six matches in a row after dropping the opening set.

Second set: 25:16

In the second set, the two teams alternated in the lead until the eighth point. Slovenia then took the lead with 10:8, but four consecutive points were decisive, after which Cretu’s wards took the lead with 16:11. Again, an exceptional block and mood in the attack shot the Slovenians to a lead of nine points (22:13). The series, in which Slovenia made only three mistakes, was so decisive.

Third set: 21:25

The third set was better opened by the French, who for the first time in the match won first two, then three points. The Slovenians tied the score at seven and took the lead with 8:7 thanks to an excellent serve by Čebulje. France continued to have a slight lead throughout. She entered the final part of the set with a three-point advantage (20:17), which she held without any major problems. After an hour and 33 minutes of play, the French reduced the deficit to 2:1.

Fourth set: 18:25

In the fourth set, Slovenia took the lead for the first time at 6:5, when Kozamernik blocked an attack by Patry. But the French became more and more efficient in attack. This was also evident on the scoreboard, which showed 14:11 in favor of France after three consecutive points. Not even a minute’s break helped. The French escaped at 17:12 and a little later at 20:14. Of course, they did not waste such an advantage until the end of the set.

Poles to the title without losing a set

In the final, Poland defeated Italy 3-0 and won the title of European champion for the second time since 2009. The Poles have already won the League of Nations this year.


Match for 3rd place: SLOVENIA – FRANCE3:2 (22, 16, -21, -18, 11)

Slovenia: Pajenk 7 (2 blocks), Planinšič, Kozamernik 7 (2 blocks), Toman, Bračko, Štalekar, Koncilja, Kovačič, Ž. Štern, Vinčić 6 (3 blocks), Urnaut 19 (2 blocks), Čebulj 15 (1 ace, 2 blocks), Možič 26 (2 aces, 1 block), Mujanović.

France: Chinenyeze 10 (1 block), Grebennikov, Patry 12 (1 ace), Toniutti, Tillie 16, Ngapeth 18 (2 aces, 1 block), Brizard 3, Boyer 8 (2 aces), Le Goff 7 (3 blocks), Bultor , Clevenot, Louati, Carle, Jouffroy.

Source: Rtvslo

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