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Eurovolley Pool C: Russia down Finland but Kurkaev carried out on stretcher, first victory ever for North Macedonia


Russia head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo did not have lot of problems against his compatriots from the Finnish team in Pool C encounter, held in Ljubljana (Slovenia): 3-0 (25:17, 26:24, 25:22). They showed their full power only in the first set, struggling to prevail in the next two, but got the fourth victory in as many games. Finland were 18-15 ahead in the second and 9-4 in the third set. It was in vain as they failed to extend the match to, at least, one more set. However, Russia’s starting middle blocker Iliyas Kurakev suffered heavy injury in the second set. He collided with the teammate Dmitriy Volkov in the attempt to save the ball and sprained his ankle. Kurkaev was carried off the court by several players before the medical team came in with a stretcher. And he has just overcome his health problems which he had prior to the EuroVolley. Viktor Poletaev was Russia’s most prolific player with 19 points, Egor Kliuka made 73% reception (11 digs, 45% excellent).

Maxim Mikhailov – opposite (RUS)
We are happy with the result. It was nice to play in front of numerous Finland’s fans. They showed us how important volleyball is there, that is why it is such a beautiful sport.


Igor Kobzar – setter and team captain (RUS):
The atmosphere in the arena was great! We are happy to play in such environment. I forgot that we are playing in Slovenia and thought we are in Finland. We saw that our team is not optimally prepared yet, there is still a lot of space for improvement. We will need to lift our level if we want to win against Slovenia.

Joel Banks – head coach (FIN):
I think overall in these three games we’ve given a good account of ourselves. If we don’t pass with Turkey then everyone including us will look back at yesterday’s match against Belarus. We did not expect to win against Russia. They’re the best team in our pool and probably in the top 2 in the tournament. We can be proud of our fighting spirit and mentality, we’ve played against very good players. It was a big challenge for us and I think we did great.

Antti Siltala – outside-spiker (FIN):
The match was tough, but our eyes are already on team Turkey. I think that today we played really okay. We’ve had our chances but the game went in the other direction. We will start focusing on Turkey now.”

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North Macedonia take its first ever Eurovolley victory! They achieved a historic first-ever win at the European Championship. They debuted this year and beat Belarus in Pool C in Ljubljana by a 3-1. The real hero of the match was Nikola Gjorgiev, who scored 37 points (37!!!) through 58 hits (62% attack success rate – 36/58) which was by far the best output in the tournament so far! Belarus had as much as 11 players (13 out of 14 registered players appeared on the court) who scored at least one point. Top scorer was Radzivon Miskevich with 12 points.

2019 CEV European Volleyball Championhip, pool stage – Day 5:

POOL A (Montpellier, France)
Romania – Greece 1-3 (25:23, 24:26, 25:27, 21:25)
France – Bulgaria 3-0 (25:19, 25:21, 25:14)

POOL B (Brussels & Antwerp, Belgium)
Austria – Germany 0-3 (23:25, 15:25, 16:25)
Spain – Serbia 1-3 (25:21, 19:25, 19:25, 20:25)

POOL C (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Russia – Finland 3-0 (25:17, 26:24, 25:22)
Belarus – North Macedonia 1-3 (25:23, 19:25, 27:29, 20:25)

POOL D (Rotterdam & Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
Montenegro – Ukraine 1-3 (25:19, 18:25, 15:25, 19:25)
Poland – Czech Republic 3-0 (25:18, 25:12, 25:15)

Source and photos: CEV

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