Friendly matches

  • I: Belgium drew first blood against Great Britain's Olympic side at the start of the three-match test series at the Edinburgh University Pleasance Sports Complex, winning 25-19 22-25 25-15 25-19. GB struggled to find their consistency and their service game let them down at critical times as they ran up 22 service errors in all.

    The British team get a chance of instant revenge with the teams due to meet again on Thursday and head coach Harry Brokking was pleased with many aspects of the GB game. Mark Plotyczer played his first match of the summer after a hand injury and made a decent contribution.

    "We were not consistent and we lacked a bit of concentration on serve reception and we weren't positive enough on service. Belgium kept their level consistently high and punished us," said Brokking.

    "But I'm happy with what I've seen and the performance of some of the players. Plotyczer did well in his first match. I was happy with Dami Bakare and had a decent match and Ben Pipes had a proper match and did not let his game go down when the team was going down.

    "There are a lot of positives to see and we need to find our consistency, mostly in serving, and keeping up the sharpness and concentration."

    Scot Mark McGivern, winning his 100th cap, served the first point but it was Belgium who held the early advantage in the first set as the GB service was erratic. Belgium led 8-6 at the first technical time-out but GB hit back with Dami Bakare showing how explosive he can be. He pulled GB level to 9-9 with a hit off the block and then, some steady serving from McGivern helped the home side take control to lead 16-13. Belgium won the next four points under Pietr Coolman's serving and GB coach Brokking was forced into a time-out at 17-19. Belgium kept up the pressure with Sam Deroo bringing up set point with a crosscourt smash and a mistake at the net from Nathan French gave them the set 25-19.

    GB came out firing on all cylinders at the start of the second set. McGivern gave them a two-point advantage with a hit through the middle and, after Belgium hit back immediately, Bakare restored the two-point lead at 8-6. But the hosts were finding it difficult to break clear with Belgium trading punches and Bram Van Den Dries consistently finding a way through the GB block. A terrific serve from French looked an ace all the way but Deroo somehow managed to get a hand to it and Belgium went on to take the point to level at 14-14.

    Bakare was having an increasing influence as the second set wore on - blocking Van Den Dries to put GB back in front and then lifting the crowd by finding the floor with another explosive hit to take the home side to 19-16. It was an advantage they never looked like giving up and the closest the Belgians came was two point before the experienced Jason Haldane provided the killer punch as GB took the set 25-22.

    GB led early in the third set but it was Belgium who held a slender one point advantage 8-7 at the first technical time-out. They then moved up a gear with Simon Van De Voorde putting pressure on the GB passing game with some powerful serving and the Belgian lead was stretched to 16-10 at the next technical timeout. Haldane came on to try and turn the tide but the closest GB got was four points and two service aces by Van Den Dries brought up set point and Van De Voorde put away the final point through the middle, 25-15.

    GB came out strongly at the start of the fourth set - Mark Plotyczer produced an exceptional crosscourt hit to establish a 12-10 lead but GB could not build on it. A service error let Belgium back into it and then Van Den Dries signalled that perhaps the set was going his team's way when his service found the floor with the aid of the net cord. On his serve, Belgium won five unanswered points to take it to 18-14 in their favour. Belgium never wavered and went on to close out the match by taking the set 25-19 with Pete Bakare blocked out by Van De Voorde on match point.

    II: Great Britain - Belgium 1-3 (18-25 20-25 29-27 15-25)

    III: Great Britain men's team lost 26-24 14-25 23-25 19-25 to Belgium in the final clash of their three-match series at Edinburgh University's Pleasance Sports Complex as the Belgians swept the series 3-0. But, for the GB coach, the matches were about assessing all of his options before the Olympics as he cuts his squad from 14 to 12 within the next few days.

    "It was obvious the selection was on the back of the players' minds, not only at the back of it but they were playing with it all the time," he said.

    "It was more obvious with some players than others. It's always difficult when you are pushing really hard. We were working hard on selection so you are not coaching to win - you try to win but it's not the focus of the week, it's about giving everyone a fair chance."

    In a tight opening set, Belgium had control early on with Bram Van Den Bries catching the eye and putting his team 5-3 ahead with a superb crosscourt smash. But GB hit back with some tough serving from captain Ben Pipes putting pressure on the Belgian serve-receive and a great block from Chris Lamont brought the home side to within one point, 5-6. Van Den Bries then produced some big serve as Belgium pulled away and GB's hope of closing the gap was not helped by a string of service errors. Yassir Sliti came up with a couple of big points just when GB needed them the most but when Belgium moved to 22-17, it looked too much for the home side.

    Step forward Nathan French. He came up with some big serves as GB won the next seven points to move to set point at 24-22 with Jason Haldane wiping one off the block. Belgian coach Dominique Baeyens was forced to take two timeouts in quick succession deep in the set as the set was drifting away from his team. Belgium managed to save two set points before Mark Plotyczer blocked Van Den Dries to clinch the set for GB 26-24.

    Belgium came out with all guns blazing in the second set to win the first five points and GB found themselves 2-8 down at the first technical timeout. GB tried to eat into their lead and libero Dan Hunter had a fantastic pick-up which led to Sliti converting the point in the best rally of the set but GB struggled to put together a consistent run of points. Simon Van De Goode scored some valuable points through the middle and Gertjan Claes demonstrated astute shot selection to keep Belgium in control. His clever tip over the block took his side to 20-11 and this time the Belgians did not lose their focus. This time when they reached 22 points, they did not let the home team back into it. Van De Voorde and then Gert Van Walle, hitting off the GB block, took them to set point and a wild hit by Plotyczer closed out the set 14-25 in Belgium's favour.

    Mark McGivern and Dami Bakare came into the action for the first time and captain Pipes returned at the start of the third set as GB sought to exert their authority. But it was Belgium who led 8-5 at the first technical timeout with Plotyczer just too long with his hit on the outside. A block by Van De Voorde opened up a four-point lead 13-9 forcing GB coach Harry Brokking into a timeout and his players responded as they battled for every point to keep in touch.

    By the second technical timeout, it was GB who led 16-15 after a handling error by the Belgian libero Bert Derkoningen. The teams traded points at the end of the set - Belgium led 21-19 but GB levelled on a service ace by Pipes which the Belgians felt was long. GB never managed to get back in front although Dami Bakare demonstrated his power with a terrific spike to level at 23-23.Belgium shrugged it off and took the set 25-23 with Van Den Dries scoring off the block.

    Belgium sped to a 4-0 lead in the fourth set and a hitting error from Dami Bakare took them to 8-5 at the first technical timeout. GB struggled to find consistency - a terrific hit from Dami Bakare took it to 11-15 but then Kieran O'Malley served into the net on the next point as Belgium led 16-11 at the technical timeout. A thumping hit from Claes moved the score to 18-12 and asked serious questions of the GB side but a service ace from Plotyczer when he found the corner of the court forced Baeyens into another timeout with his team leading 21-16. It proved enough to steady the ship. Verhanneman brought up their first match point and, although Matius Valkiers served into net, they won it on the next point when French was long with his serve.

    Great Britain
    Starting Six: P Bakare, Pipes, Plotyczer, French, Lamont, Sliti
    Libero: Hunter
    Came in: Haldane, O'Malley, McGivern, D Bakare, Howe

    Starting Six: Van Den Bries, Coolman, Claes, Van De Voorde, Verhanneman, Valkiers
    Libero: Derkoningen
    Came in: Backaert, D'Hulst, Van Walle

  • Tunisia national team played 3 friendly matches in Tehran this week.

    13 July / Iran 3:1 Tunisia (25:22 25:16 23:25 25:23 ) Extra Set 15:12
    14 July / Iran 3:1 Tunisia (25:15 25:23 23:25 25:14 )
    15 July / Iran B 3:0 Tunisia (25:13 25:16 25:19 )

    and another match with Iran U18 and they lost again !
    16 July / Iran U18 3:1 Tunisia (25:20 25:21 16:25 25:23 )

  • I just came back from Italy-Serbia...Italy won 4-0 (they played also a 4th set) and what I have to say is that I saw a good Italy that didn't play at its 100% but they showed to be in good shape and ready for was of course only a friendly match but they looked quite determined and sure...they led all sets and just in the last part of them Serbia managed to reach Italy with the points! the second set was basically for Serbia but Italy turned it in its favour thanks to the good services of Travica...I liked their service tonight and MVP to me is Savani!!

  • Bulgaria - Brazil 1:3 (23:25, 23:25, 25:21, 17:25)

    Today: Bulgaria - Russia

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  • No, nothing like that. They only announced that all players have played and it was a usefull friendly - we have played well, but there were periods with a lot of mistakes :D

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  • BUL - RUS 1-3 25-23 23-25 28-30 21-25 , Maxim with an injury :|

    Радо Стойчев каза: Мизия, Тракия, Македония! Западните покрайнини - завинаги български!