The Czech women's volleyball players suffered a debacle from Azerbaijan at the start of the EC

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Czech women's volleyball players at the European Championship suffered a debacle from Serbia

Czech female volleyball players – illustrative photo.

Düsseldorf (Germany) – Czech volleyball players failed at the start of the European Championship. They clearly lost to Azerbaijan 0:3 after sets 21:25, 10:25 and 15:25. They complicated the fight for promotion from Group C, because their opponent today was supposed to be one of the teams they could leave behind.

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Helena Havelková, who returned to six-person volleyball after more than a year of unsuccessful activity on the sand, did not start in the basic lineup of the Czech team. Captain Michaela Mlejnková was joined by Eva Hodanová on the smash. But she only lasted less than a hundred on the court before giving up her place to Havelkova. In the beginning, the Czech representatives kept pace, but then due to poor reception, defense, recording and attack, they started to lose. In the end, they lost the first set by four points.

In the second set, Havelková started from the beginning, but did not help in the reversal. The Czech game has completely fallen apart. The attacks were subtle. Rivals did whatever they wanted on the court. After a clear defeat, when his charges only reached a double-digit number of points, coach Athanasopulos called for more aggressiveness, risk on the serve and improved defense at the net and in the field in a televised interview for the European CEV federation.

It was in vain, at the beginning of the third set the Czech volleyball players were losing 0:6. They couldn't turn around. “I didn't play the way we should. Azerbaijan played a great match, I congratulate them. But we weren't good at passing, at recording, our system fell apart. The biggest difference was in aggressiveness. We have to discuss why we stopped being aggressive.” coach Athanasopulos said in a media recording.

His charges had only a twenty-eight percent success rate in attack, the players of Azerbaijan twice that. Gabriela Orvošová was the most productive Czech player with nine points, on the other hand, a trio of players led by Polina Rahimovová with seventeen points had over ten points.

Recorder Kateřina Valková took part of the blame for the toothless attack on herself. “I think the Azerbaijanis pushed us a lot on the serve and unfortunately I couldn't do it to the girls as I would have imagined. Then we had a hard time advancing against the high blocks of the Azerbaijanis, who had us loaded well and defended us,” she said.

The other opponents of the Czech team will be the Greeks in Düsseldorf on Sunday, i.e. the team from the homeland of coach Athanasopolous. The Czechs must win to maintain a real chance of progressing to the round of 16. “It will be a battle of being and not being,” acknowledged Athanasopulos. Four teams from the six-member group will advance to the round of 16.

Azerbaijan – Czech Republic 3:0 (21, 10, 15)

Referees: Lecourt (Fr.), Cesare (It.). Time: 73 min. Spectators: 1150.

Czech team and points: Valková 1, Mlejnková 5, Koulisiani 4, Orvošová 9, Hodanová 1, Jehlářová 3, libero Digrinová/Dostálová – Pelikánová, Brancuská, Havelková 6, Pavlová. Coach: Athanasopulos.

Azerbaijan's most points: Rahimova 17, Rubanova 15, Aliyevova 11.

Other result of Group C: Turkey – Sweden 3:0 (22, 18, 13).


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1. Turkey 1 1 0 3:0 75:53 3
2. Germany 1 1 0 3:0 79:67 3
3. Azerbaijan 1 1 0 3:0 75 :46 3
4. Greece 1 0 1 0:3 67:79 0
5. Czech Republic 1 0 1 0: 3 46:75 0
6. Sweden 1 0 1 0:3 53:75 0