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Czechs back to winning ways and into Euro U19 semis

 
Lausanne, Switzerland, April 27, 2017 – The Czech Republic bounced back from losing to France on Wednesday to reach the semifinals of the Final Round of the 2017 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Men on Thursday. 

The Czechs reached the last four by defeating Romania 3-0 (25-21, 25-10, 25-20). Marek Sotola was again their leading scorer, with 12 points and they advance from Pool II that took place in Puchov, Slovakia. 

As semifinalists the Czech Republic have now qualified for the FIVB Volleyball U19 Boy’s World Championship that will take place in Bahrain from August 18-27, along with the other five top six teams. 

The semifinals will take place in Gyor, Hungary, where Pool I has been hosted so far. 

“I cannot find the words...we are very happy,” Czech captain Ondrej Piskacek said. “It is a great success for our country. We trained hard before this tournament and this is the prize for that. We will try to win a medal in Gyor, although we know it will be difficult.”

France will join the Czech Republic in the semifinals after they defeated Finland France 3-1 (25-19, 26-28, 25-18, 25-12). Celestin Cardin led scoring with 23 points. 

In the third pool match Turkey defeated Slovakia 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-13).
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Italy won their final Pool I match 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-19) against Hungary in Gyor to ensure that they progressed to the semifinals, along with pool winners Russia. 

After they started strongly, Hungary were unable to contain them and Davide Gardini and Giovanni Gargiulo finished as match leading scorers with 10 points apiece. Their teammate and team libero Filippo Federici was named MVP.

“We are very happy, congratulations to our team,” Federici said. “Our previous matches were not so balanced, but today we did a good job. We are looking forward to playing in the semifinals.”

Russia finished the pool stages with an unbeaten record of five wins from five following their 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-18) defeat of Bulgaria. 

Defending FIVB U19 world champions Poland gave themselves a chance of retaining their crown after they fought back from losing the opening set to beat Belgium 3-1 (16-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-15). 

It means that they will be in contention to finish in either fifth or sixth place and so qualify for Bahrain. 

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