The Balkan team also proved to be in top form this year and aims to continue its outstanding streak in the competition after finishing in first position of pool A, imposing its power in all 12 matches in the League Round. “We won all the three previous tournaments and I think we can make it again”, said Serbian head coach, Zoran Terzic. “We are not in the best shape but we will try to do our best, especially in the first match, which is extremely important for us, not only to reach the final but also to qualify for the Grand Prix. In my opinion, this year all four teams have the same chances to win”.
In order to repeat its participation in the final, Serbia will have to beat a motivated team of Bulgaria in the first semi-final. The Bulgarian squad also completed a perfect performance in the League Round, with 12 victories in 12 matches and is confident of upsetting its rivals on Thursday. “I know we must face a very strong opponent in our semi-final, but we will try to beat the current European champions to be in the Final”, said the head coach of Bulgaria, Marcello Abbondanza. “For us the important thing is to play good Volleyball and to take our chances after perfoming at a good level”.
The second semi-final will produce the debut of local heroes of the Czech Republic, who will clash against The Netherlands for a spot in the Final. The Dutch squad has also gained the status of favourite to fight for gold in the tournament, after finishing in top position of Pool C. The players trained by Gido Vermeulen closed the League Round with 9 victories in 12 matches and arrive in Karlovy Vary with the intention of causing disappointment to local team. “For us it is important that we are in the Final Four, in our first participation in the tournament; we are glad to be here”, said Dutch head coach, Gido Vermeulen, who is confident about the game against the Czech Republic. “We played against the Czechs four times this year, so we know each other pretty well; I think that the match will be decided in small details, although playing at home gives them an advantage”.
The home ground factor will be one of the elements used by the Czech Republic in its intention to qualify for the Final. The organizers expect the support of the home crowd to achieve the goal of reaching the final match and improve the fourth position obtained last year. “We know that we are playing at home and for this reason I think the tournament is going to be very exciting for us. We are proud of being able to experience this opportunity”, said the head coach of the Czech Republic, Carlo Parisi. “We will play against a strong team but I think we have our chances to make something important; the only way to get this result is to play at our best”.