For the first time in history, Belgium claimed a ticket for the final four of the CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women. “Yellow Tigers” achieve this, beating “Les Bleus” after extraordinary battle with thrilling tiebreak.
BELGIUM – FRANCE 3-2 (22-25 25-23 21-25 25-20 15-9)
Line-ups and scores:
Belgium: Dirickx (6), Leys (18), Heyrman (9), Van Hecke (6), Rosseaux (15), Aelbrecht (13), Courtois (L) and Coolman, Vandesteene (16), Van Der Vyver (1), Bland (1)
France: Tuifua (3), Souply (18), Kloster (12), Schleck (13), Rybaczewski (12), Bauer (14), Ortschitt (L) and Jupiter (5), Orle, Rochelle, Steux (1)
France and Belgium started their duel with long and spectacular rallies. The French gained an 8-4 lead at the first technical time-out. Middle-blocker Christina Bauer did a great job and scored with several well-timed smashes. The Belgians tied the game at 16-16 by better receptions and vigorous offensive patterns. However, until 20-20 there was not much to separate the two teams. Both liberos did a remarkable job with excellent defense play. As the day before versus the Czech Republic, Christina Bauer scored at the important moments of the game. France won the first set 25-22.
Fabrice Vial’s team took the rush of the first set into the second period. Les ‘Bleues’ showed a solid performance and quickly led 6-1. However, both teams struggled with passing at that moment of the game. Consequently, the offensive game lacked of precision and power. France kept a six-point lead at the second technical break, but could not conclude. The team of Gert Vande Broek made an amazing comeback to turn the tables around in the ‘money time’ (25-23).
At the start of the third set, both teams still experienced huge problems with their efficiency at the net. Long rallies were the logical consequence. Although Gert Vande Broek’s players fought for every ball, France regained momentum. Fabrice Vial’s players needed four set balls, but ended the third set finally 25-21 in their favour.
The “Yellow Tigers” started the fourth set under pressure. If the Belgians wanted to keep their semi-final dream alive, they had to show a quick reaction. Belgium’s setter Frauke Dirickx improved the variety in her offensive game, which rapidly caused problems in the French defence. At the second technical time-out, Belgium led by six points. France tried to shorten the deficit by focusing on middle-blocker Christina Bauer and wing-spiker Astrid Souply. However, the young Belgians never looked back (25-20) to postpone the final decision of today’s duel in the fifth and last set.
Belgium’s wing-spikers did a great job in the beginning of the fifth set and quickly led 6-3. Fabrice Vial rapidly called his ladies off court. It helped as captain Anna Rybaczewski brought les ‘Bleues’ back into the game with strong defensive play. Nevertheless, Belgium proved too strong for the exhausted French players (15-9). In Semifinals Belgium will fight with tournament’s host, Germany.
ActionsSpike pointsSpike %BlockServeRec ExcRec PosErrorsBelgium5831%19834%58%23France5534%19429%52%29
ActionsPointsSpike ptsSpike %BlockAceErrorsCharlotte Leys18921%633Astrid Souply181336%327