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High brisance in 2011 CEV Volleyball European Championship ½ finals

serbien2011One glimpse on the the latest FIVB Senior World Ranking reveals that the EuroVolley-semifinalists, Russia (2.), Italy (4.), Serbia (5.) and Poland (8.), set the agenda not just in europe but worldwide. The cheapest ticket for the semifinalday (2 matches) costs 31 euros, the cheapest ticket for the finalday (2 matches) costs 38 euros.

If Russia wins, they would shorten the distance to world’s current number one, Brazil. Moreover, their second place would be well secured.

A victory of Serbia could take them to the third place, which might be useful in terms of the FIVB World Cup in November.

Compared to their 10th place at the European Championship 2009, Italien has already improved. Even when they finish fourth, they would overtake the USA.

Title-holder Poland, could pass Bulgaria and therefor be europe’s fourth-best in the FIVB World Rankings.

Finalists automatically qualify for the FIVB World Cup
Another reason why the semifinals are highly brisance games, is the fact that both finalists will earn a ticket to the FIVB World Cup in November. Beside host country Japan and nine continental champions and vice-champions, the FIVB will grant another two wildcards. Europe’s third-best team in the World Rankings can promise himself one of the two wildcards. 12 Teams will compete for the first three tickets for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Poland challenges Italy
Title-holder Poland faces Italy in Saturday’s first semifinal in the „Wiener Stadthalle“. There have already been two matches between those two teams this year. Both times Italy stayed victorious on polish territory (3-0, 3-1). First duell was taking place during the the final round of the 2011 FIVB World League in Gdansk. Poland’s second loss happened during the Hubert Wagner memorial tournament in Katowice.
Though Italy had come off as the winners twice, captain Cristian Savani adviced caution. „We start from zero. It’s a new game and we should not think about the past matches.“

Serbia – Russia: Anticipated final?
Both teams enter the semifinal unbeaten and just lost two sets in four matches. The record of their last clashes is balanced. In 2011 they didn’t face each other so far. During 2010’s FIVB World League semifinal Russia won 3-0. In the 3rd round of the FIVB Men’s World Championship Serbia took revenge on Russia and beat them 3-1. Due to Russia’s victory in the FIVB World League 2011, they can be called the favorite in this match.

Top-Six of the EuroVolley 2011 already qualified for the next European Championship.
Despite the question about who will claim the title stays unsettled, another decision has come to an end. In addition to the two host countries, Poland and Denmark, Russia, Italy, Serbia, Slovakia and Bulgaria have accomplished the qualification for 2013 European Championship. Slovakia finished fifth in the 2011 CEV Volleyball European Championship, just one point away from Bulgaria. France placed seventh, followed by Finland (8.)