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28/03/17
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Russian powerhoused Czechs

In the last match of the preliminary pool B, the Czech national team did not match up with the currently best world team – Russians deserved to win 3:0 (19,14,18) and qualified from the first place to the quarterfinals. Ahead of the Czech players is Wednesday´s semifinal battle with Poland, the third team of Pool D, played in Prague.

Local guys entered the match very bravely and they kept pace with the Russians up to the score 10-10. Both teams were carefully watching their attacks after serving and setting. Before the second technical time-out the Russians got into a three-point lead. They intensified their strength at the serve. Two Czech receptions ended up on the Russian half and Russian hitters, without any compromise, punished them. Russia finished the first set in peace and won it 25-10.

In the subsequent sets, Russia created a sufficient lead from the very beginning. Players enjoyed the game and they demonstrated their calm in successful attacks and defence on the net. Russians simply dominated and won 3:0.

Russians outperformed the Czech team in all activities. They got two points from the serve while the Czechs just one. Their kill percentage in attacks was 75 % compared the Czech percentage of 45 %. Russians scored ten winning blocks, on the other hand, the Czechs had just two. Both teams were receiving serves with the score 57 %. The best scoring player in the match was Russian Mikhailov, who collected fourteen points for his team. The best scoring Czech player was David Konecny, who scored nine times.

„The match result speaks for itself. Russians were better than we, except for the first part of the first set when the game was balanced. But we made some useless mistakes. The tournament is going on. We will wait for a result of the Prague pool and we will prepare for next matches,” said Ondřej Hudeček, captain of the Czech team at the press conference.

Coach Jan Svoboda added: “I would like to congratulate Russians on the victory. Overall, they were a better team. My task now is to prepare our team well for the next match. Jan Štoker did not play till the end because he was not scoring enough. On his position, David Konecny came, who, in my opinion, didn´t get enough sets. We were risking at the serve because it is impossible to play against Russia with light serves. If we were not risking the serves, Russian attack may have been even of higher quality.”

Russian coach Alekno praised the improved performance of his players compared to the match with Portugal. “I am satisfied with all the activities apart from the serve today. The team spirit was much better. I could send any player to the court and he would play well. Tomorrow we will be working on physical condition, we will train and get ready for the coming quarterfinal match.”

Russian captain Khtey said: “Our opponent was a bit nervous that even the country president came. If you want to perform at your best, it doesn´t usually work.”

From Karlovy Vary Radek Krpač