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Serbia remains unbeaten and qualies for ½ final!

MiljkovicVienna, Austria, September 15, 2011. As France didn’t use their opportunity to win the first set Serbia overtook control of Wednesday’s second Quarter Final in the „Wiener Stadthalle“. France achieved a come-back in the third set, but couldn’t force a tie-break. Serbia won 3-1 (32-30, 25-20, 23-25, 26-24) and qualified for the ½ Final.

2011 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Men

At the begin of the game, Serbia’s two day break was obvious as they needed some time to find their rhythm. France grabbed their chance to take the lead (16-12). Even if Serbia’s attacks weren’t as effective as France’s, they could trust to their block. Three consecutive stuff-blocks of Serbia meant the equalizer in the set (17-17). In the end the set developed to  neck-and-neck race. Both teams had chances to win the set. Ivan Miljkovic made the difference and ended the set for the benefit of Serbia (32-30).

In the first set, Serbia’s block succeeded in focusing on France’s leading scorer Earvin Ngapeth. As soon as they noticed that French opposite Antonin Rouzier had caused them a lot of troubles (10 points of 12 attacks), they paid more attention to him. Immediately his efficiency dropped dramatically and Serbia’s last problem on the way to winning the second set was solved (25-20).

Despite beginning down 0-2, France didn’t give up and had a good start into the third set. Between the two technical time-outs they proved their qualities and took the lead (12-9). The set looked already decided (22-18), when Serbia came up again (22-20). In the end France used his second attempt to catch up one set (25-23).

From now on, Serbia was setting the pace again and were early distancing France two to three points (12-9). France managed to stay within distance but Serbia side-outed constantly (23-21). Finally Serbia achieved two match balls (24-22) - France equalized again (24-24). When Serbia created another chance to win the match, France couldn’t Stopp them again (26-24).

Ivan Miljkovic top-scored with 29 points for Serbia. Antonin Rouzier scored 25 points for France.

Miljkovic said, that he had expected a tough match like that today. „In the last years, matches against France were always difficult to play for us. I’m happy that this young team gets the chance to win a medal.“

Serbia’s coach Igor Kolakovic was happy that his team came into the game after some difficulties at the begin. „We had some problems with their float services, but we did a great job at the net. I’m satisfied that we advanced to the next round.“