The host, team Turkey with FIVB Hero Neslihan Darnel defeated Germany 3:1 and finished group round without a loss. Margareta Kozuch and her teammates from Germany are lucky to have charismatic Giovanni Guidetti as their coach. The Italian motivated his team and Germany won next day against Bulgaria, booking their place in the semi-finals. “In the first two sets Bulgaria put a lot of pressure on us and did not give up,” said Kozuch after the match. “It was a very important match for both teams and I am glad we won. We look forward to tomorrow’s semi-final.”
In the other group the rivalry was even tougher. Russia won against Serbia 3:1 and FIVB Hero Jovana Brakocevic could say goodbye to the semi-finals. But Serbs are known for their honour. In the last match, against Poland and Joanna Kaczor, Brakocevic and her teammates showed their best and didn’t give up victory easily to Poland who had already booked their place in the finals. Kaczor and her team finally won 3:2 and, just like Turkey, finished this phase without a loss.
Victory over Serbia brought Ekaterina Gamova and team Russia come closer to the semis, but they had one last obstacle to overcome – The Netherlands. This time however Manon Flier and her teammates were no match for the strength of Russia, losing 1:3. “It was disappointing for us,” admitted Flier. “We started well and tried to make it hard for Russia, but it was so difficult to play against the world champion. After the beginning of the second set, they took control of the match, played well and we could not display our fighting spirit as we did in the match against Serbia.”
It’s time for the semis! Poland and Joanna Kaczor will face Germany and Margareta Kozuch. Both teams prepared by playing friendly’s against each other with the result a dead heat at 1:1. Who will triumph this time? In the second semi-final Russia will compete against undefeated Turkey, supported by their seventh player – their passionate fans. Who will play in the final? We will find out soon!