Jury President and CEV Vice President and Treasurer Philip Berben took charge of the meeting between the greeting words from Milan Popović, Executive Director of the Volleyball Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the beginning and the photo opportunities for officials and coaches at the end.
Actual volleyball action in Pool I will see the teams of Belgium and Italy as the first ones to step on the court of the Laktaši sports palace at 15:00 CET on Saturday afternoon. Poland and Austria will follow soon after, at 17:30, while host team Bosnia and Herzegovina will entertain Slovenia, starting at 20:00.
The coaches of the six participants in Laktaši shared some of their thoughts and expectations before the launch of their battles for continental honors.
Steven Vanmedegael, head coach of Belgium: “For sure it will be a tough competition, because we have the Italian team, the Polish team and also the Austrian team in our pool. So our first task is to qualify for the World Championship, but we also hope to get into the semi finals.”
Andrea Tomasini, head coach of Italy: ”For us it is very important to be here and I am sure we are able to win the tournament. But what happens in a certain match does not depend only on us. So we have to play hard for every ball.“
Wieslav Czaja, head coach of Poland: “We expect to show a good game and play in the final of this tournament.”
Nina Sawatzki, head coach of Austria: ”For us it is already a big success to be here, at the Final Round. We reached our first big goal and now we will try to earn some points and move on into the first eight. So our next step is to beat Bosnia and Slovenia.”
Ljubisa Ristic, head coach of Bosnia and Herzegovina: “We cannot wait for the competition to start. We saw that the organization was perfect, but the most difficult part, the European Championship, is yet to begin. We have been preparing for this, and I think that with a victory on Saturday we will secure a place in the next phase. It is going to be a difficult game, but the first game is always the hardest.”
Iztok Ksela, head coach of Slovenia: “Our wish is to qualify for the second round. After that, you never know, we might be seventh or we could qualify among the first six who will compete at the World Championship. Saturday’s game is going to be difficult. We know our host will play really well. They are an unknown team for us since they did not play in the qualifications. We expect a challenging game, but I think only a victory may lead us to the first eight. The hotel is really good, and the hall is wonderful, so we do not have any complaints.”
To read more news from this competition click on Youth European Championship 2013 M.