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CEV

12. 06. 2018

GOLDEN EL M: Final Four’s around the corner; 2 key players of Estonia get injured just before semis

Source: Photo: cev.eu

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The first-ever Final Four (June 13-14) of the CEV Men’s Volleyball Golden European League is just around the corner.


 

Estonia will face Portugal in the 2018 CEV Men’s Volleyball Golden European League Final Four opener in Karlovy Vary, followed by the clash between Turkey and the hosts the Czech Republic. This will be the first-ever European League final tournament in this format and under this name. The eventual winners, but also the silver medalists, will contest the inaugural FIVB Challenger Cup (June 20-25 in Matosinhos, Portugal), along with Kazakhstan (Asia), Chile (South America), Cuba (NORCECA), and hosts Portugal. The team that wins the Challenger Cup will face the last-placed challenger team at the 2018 FIVB Nations League for a spot at the 2019 edition of the tournament.

As for the first semifinal, it will be a duel of the two teams that won a gold medal in the old format of European League – Estonia in 2016 and Portugal in 2010. Both teams finished as pool leaders (Estonia in Pool A, Portugal in Pool C) with a 5-1 record.

“Their biggest strength is Ferreira brothers (the opposite Marco Evan and outside hitter Alexandre). Portugal play most of the attacks through Ferreira brothers and they have fast-paced players. The setter Miguel Rodrigues Tavares is at a very good level and can play the game very quickly. If necessary, he can change the rhythm,” Estonia head coach Gheorghe Crețu said.

Unfortunately for Estonia fans, the two starters and also the players that are leaders of the team have suffered injuries just before the trip to Karlovy Vary and will not play the F4 - Robert Täht (sick) and Henri Treial (injured).

“I remember being at the Karlovy Vary Arena together with some of the players of the national team in the finals of the 2011 European Championship (organized by the Czech Republic and Austria). It is a gymnasium with good conditions and I am sure that a good volleyball will be played here with a lot of spectators. This Final Four is a kind of reward for our players and we will try to win it. We will have to overcome Estonia, which I consider to be the best team, mostly by the way in which they dominated their qualifying pool, leaving Belgium behind,” Portugal head coach Hugo Silva stated.

The winners of an inaugural edition of the old European League in 2004, the Czech Republic, will meet a team that was the first to secure a berth in the Final Four throughout pool stage (Pool B) by making four wins in a row, Turkey.

Czechs will have to improve their level of play compared to pool stage which they finished at the bottom (Pool C) with a 2-4 record. The next two days will show if that was due to the fact they saved their strength for the Final Four, knowing they are the hosts, or due to the fact it was their limit.

 

To see complete results, stats, and standings, visit our Golden European League 2018 / Male / Seniors page.

 

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