Home » ECH M: Voices from Odense waiting for Denmark’s debut

ECH M: Voices from Odense waiting for Denmark’s debut

by WoV
source: cev.lu; Photo: cev.lu

Odense and the local Fyn Arena are also well ready to welcome the VELUX EuroVolley 2013 and especially the four teams competing in preliminary Pool A. Starting from Friday the hosts of Denmark will play Italy, Belgium and Belarus in what is their first appearance at the European Championship in more than 40 years.


Press in Odense

US American Fred Sturm has been working with the Danish national team for the past ten years and is evidently excited about the home debut of his guys. “We are much honored to host here in Odense the prelims of the European Championship and the three teams assigned to Pool A” he said. “We have been working hard for the past five months and we feel ready to start this adventure. We want to play our best and I would like to see my team progressing through the tournament so that on Sunday I will be able to say that with Belarus we delivered our best performance. Whenever the Danish national team squares off, it always plays to win though of course we do respect our opponents. I just hope we will be improving set after set and match after match so that we can draw the line on Sunday with some positives from this adventure”.

Denmark will be playing Italy in their opening match on Friday evening at 20:45; the 2012 Olympic bronze medalists around head coach Mauro Berruto have undergone major changes with fresh blood injected into a group that includes 8 rookies. “I would like to thank the Danish Volleyball Federation for here in Odense we have found excellent conditions and anything you may ask for. That said, I know my players and can only say that we want to stay until the last competition day. We never want to leave the competition before this comes to its end. So our goal is to make the semis in Copenhagen and once we are there, anything can happen. Of course we want to win a medal but this depends on many factors that you can barely control. You need some luck, have to be in a great shape on that specific day and everything has come together right when it counts the most. We respect Denmark but we know that this is a must-win game. Belarus is not that well-known but they have some good players, especially Aleh Akhrem who has been playing in Poland for the past few years and regularly participates in the European Cups. Belgium had a great summer with their terrific winning streak in the European League but we know our value and of course our goal is to finish first in the groupBerruto said.

The winners of this year’s CEV Volleyball European League, Belgium, may want to emulate the fairy tale written by their countrywomen who won bronze at the European Championship in Berlin this past Saturday. “I have to say that we are glad for being here for we only made it after winning the golden set of the return game with Greece in the third qualification round” said Dominique Baeyens.We had a great summer after that but you can’t compare the quality of the European League with a final round of the European Championship. I have seen that my team can fight back in any situation and we always want to win no matter which opponent stands on the other side of the net. We also will be taking it match by match, so our opening game with Belarus is the most important right now and we’ll apply the same principle to the next matches in the pool with Denmark and Italy”.

“We want make it to the next round; this is our goal in this tournament” said Belarus head coach Victor Sidelnikov. His team is participating in the final round of the EuroVolley for the first time since the Republic of Belarus emerged from the breakdown of the former Soviet Union in 1991. “Our campaign in the European League could have been a little better but since we played the last legs with only half of our best players, we simply could not achieve more than we did as we finished second in our group. Some of my guys played at the Universiade in Kazan, so I simply could not expect to reach more. We started our preparations for this European Championship on August 2 and we played many friendly matches. We also joined the Memorial Platonov tournament in Saint Petersburg which starred many teams from the Russian Superleague and also Ukraine’s national team. There we beat Zenit KAZAN and also Yaroslavich YAROSLAVL before we lost the final game to Belogorie BELGOROD, Russia’s national champions. We were planning to play some more matches with Sweden or Slovakia but our Federation does not have that much money, so in the end we continued our lead up to the Championship in Minsk and got the chance to play in Tallinn where we crossed our ways with two teams from Finland and another two from Estonia. As I said, our goal is to make the Playoffs, this would be a good result for Belarus, as unlike the women’s national team we never participated in the final round before”.

To read similar news from this competition click on European Championship 2013 M

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