European Championships 2015 - hosts Italy and Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria hasn't lost on purpose in volleyball yet. It's the one positive thing in the last medalles years. About Germany, I don't hate the team, but I would punch the coach in the face If I have an opportunity in Sofia. One would be enough.


    I don't know what Plamen did to the players, but with so many injuries it is clear he doesn't know how to prepare them both physically and technically, which is surprising, having seen him in Turkey in Russia as good coach. Belmeken, belmeken, the graveyard of hopes.


    About Poland being the best team in Europe, I think that France, Italy and Russia do not agree.

  • I think Serbia and Italy will have no difficulty to win their games.Germany is the favorite, but everthing can happens. After what they did, i hope Belgium can play a great game and can win the game.


    I agree on Serbia-Estonia, but – unlike Croatia and Estonia – Finland isn't the team that you can beat not playing well, and so far Italy isn't at the top (only the first two set vs France were played well imho). So, if Italy will play well they can beat Finland, if they play so and so it won't be that easy (may be Italy will still win, but with struggle).
    And that it's me not underestimating the others team :D (but also the italian players said that Finland is a team against which you need to play well in order to win. And here they have more fans than us :lol: )


    does ITA prefer to face POL and RUS rather than BUL and SER? cause that's what's gonna happen by losing to FRA...


    I don't think we do and for sure we didn't want to lose the match (who is that stupid to play an in-or-out match more if he can avoid it?).
    Still, I have to said that Serbia – like Russia, actually – it's always kinda a nightmare to us xD More than Poland, for example.
    But of course I would have prefer to try vs Serbia and in case being in semi vs Bulgaria or whoever than vs Poland.


    BTW, yesterday would have been the 10th victory vs France in a row, and we saw what happened... So, history doesn't win/lose matches ^^

  • I am really baffled by the weirdness of some posts here. Everyone's got the right to express opinion, also to choose how to coach his team and what to say, but there are things hidden behind the curtains which we can try to find. I didn't have much time to watch all games, I couldn't write much here either, will try to share my opinion nevertheless.

    Let me start with the hot German topic. When the formula allows it, you can manipulate whatever game you need. The only disappointment to me is when the coach then comes and says "Nah, we kind of missed it in the tie-break". Just confess what you did and it would be fine, Heynen has the right to choose his opponents, no need to make a clown of yourself. I cannot believe people here wrote that, right from the start, he had planned the whole thing. So, what you are trying to tell me is that he knew he would lose 3-0 to Bulgaria and then play for the third position, which is absurd, to say the least. Also, please, his decision had nothing to do with Belgium, the Netherlands, or Slovenia. He is clearly trying to avoid Poland, I don't know why he is so afraid of them. Yes, they are the reigning word champs, but believe me, they are not unbeatable and are not playing at home. I understand why he prefers Bulgaria, I would also choose a team I know well and have beaten before, unlike Poland, but Bulgaria will again have home-court advantage and, based on Day 1, would now have a slight psychological advantage. Pressure would be on both sides, Heynen will have to explain himself well in case he loses again, so I do not agree Bulgarians will feel more pressure. Quite technically speaking, the German team has shown some positive signs only yesterday. This is exactly what I predicted on Friday before the tournament started - the lack of official games will backfire sooner or later and brought them a slow start. Regardless of what Heynen thinks, I don't know if his team will be fully ready for the playoffs.


    As for Bulgaria, what I predicted for the game against Germany happened last night versus the Netherlands. I cannot remember such a weird tournament for our team, positive is we have three wins. Let me clarify some questions that came up here on the previous days. Bulgaria had an awfully lot of time to prepare for the opening match and it worked very smoothly. I was pleasantly surprised by the display on Friday. Everything worked, no need to talk about it, they can play volleyball like this and with the audience behind them they can come close to that level once more at least. Then more things happened. The drop of level was more or less expected and, in large portions, controlled. Nikolov is 38, the coaching staff and the player himself wanted him to take a rest on the second day (something agreed on ABOUT TWO MONTHS AGO), hence the break against the Czechs despite the negative result. This is why Gradinarov came on from the bench. The problems with Zhekov were known, he doesn't seem to be fit for a whole tournament, his situation got worse on Saturday, no chance for him to play yesterday. Bratoev might've underperformed sometimes, Agontsev helped as well on those occasions. It was ABSOLUTELY clear we would have problems with the OHs, so the drop of level at some time was expected. Maybe they even underestimated the young Czechs, hence the struggle. What matters in the end is the score. Let's not forget last night Bulgaria had a really well-prepared opposition on the other side of the court. The Dutch team had insane reception numbers, partially influenced by the weaker serves we produce at the championship. Nimir is a very athletic setter, van Dijk had probably (I am almost sure, have watched him a lot) never performed like this in his career, even the problems in the middle didn't appear and Bontje enjoyed a good evening. A strange decision to leave his main weapons Nimir and van Dijk outside in the tie-break, though. This was the best a Dutch team has played since... I don't know, maybe 10 years at least. And they didn't really deserve to lose but had to because the 15-min break their coach took to talk to refs and to turn this way the match around wasn't really necessary. Otherwise it was going to a more comfortably 2-0 lead for the hosts. Which brings the question what happened with Bulgarian serve. They make fewer mistakes, which is fine, but now we don't have a solid server. A well-receiving team would take advantage of that, Kooy and Rauwerdink could not do so for an entire match. When Sokolov (although his serve has been quite unstable lately) and especially Skrimov are gone, we have a problem. We all hope Salparov recovers till Wednesday, although Vladislav Ivanov is in a great shape as well.


    There is one serious question I want to find the answer to. What is going on with Niki Nikolov? I haven't checked the stats yet, but I think he hasn't played a minute so far. There must be an injury, I hope rumours that he is trying to remain healthy for the club season in Iran are just nonsense, it would make absolutely no sense for the much more important ECH. Besides, it would make Plamen Konstantinov a criminal. He dropped a healthy Gotsev, after all. Todorov should've been replaced yesterday, Nikolov was much needed. So are his powerful serves, actually. Because now, for the first time in our modern volleyball history, we have only (almost) floaters in the NT. Even Penchev.


    I couldn't follow all games in the other pools, will try to watch the other teams more before the semis. I surely wouldn't miss the quarterfinals. I expected slower start for some teams, it is quite normal, they also had easier opponents on the opening days. Leaving the results aside, Belarus seems to be the only team that does not belong to the championship. The Croatian team should've taken a set from France and overall played better, my opinion, than what the scores actually say. Pity for them, I like their players and I am sorry we might never see Omrcen with the NT jersey again. The match Slovakia vs. Serbia was extremely slow, I don't know what the problems at the table were. Soon the Serbians will need to show what they can because there is a French team waiting. I also consider everyone who thinks Italy lost on purpose at home crazy. The Russian system with Mikhaylov as an opposite works better, interesting contribution from Klyuka and Kovalev too, I am looking forward to the next games of Russia.

  • I think the overall level of the group stage has been quite satisfactory. With the exception of Belarus and a couple of more one-sided matches, there are some nice games. And we have had a lot of drama even after three days of actions, so i think the game level of the championship is promising. The finals should be on a high level as well. I would really be interested if you share some internal information that doesn't reach international media regarding the organization. Believe me, the Bulgarian Volleyball Federation are known for producing blunders, so no wonder there might be complaints. It was known since last year that they would not organize a flawless event and it is among the reasons why I believe we shouldn't organize a WCH. However, truth be told, two years ago in Copenhagen I saw far more worrisome blunders by the Danish organizers at the finals of the ECH. Which is, by no means, no excuse.


    I like the fact that so many teams, coaches, and fans still prefer to face Bulgaria in Sofia than any other opponent at quarterfinals, semis, etc. It seems like they don't take our team seriously, partially our own fault, partially due to injuries, which is a situation very much preferred for the team at the moment.

  • Ok, maybe I don't have that much information about sport like rugby but I could compare world cup of rugby and world cup of volleyball and at each match of rugby thanks God I didn't have possibility to hear what players talking about with each other or what they were shouting unlike to volleyball I heard every swish in the hall, sorry my volleyball fans this is a right argument.
    I just dream that volleyball will be 100% sure second sport in the world after football. It's not and little chances it will be in future. Team sport without physical contact with rival is without chances to be popular. And all those mess in FIVB, changing rules every year, changing all only because one team from elite didn't decide to participate in one competition, selling participations in competitions, a lot of affairs that are swept under carpet. This sport needs stabilization of rules and justice. Losing on purpose is not fault of the national teams, Raylight don't be funny and look at that objectively. This sport starts to be pointless. :wacko:
    And what Benjamin Toniutti could do if France didn't get a points to ranking after win of World League? He whispered something as for sure a lot of other players but players, coaches are helpless, fans can be rebellious ok I'm fed up with it, I'm not watching this anymore, but what coaches, players? Just they all need to continiue their jobs.

  • I'm not so surprised Italy lost it to France in the end. France looks to me like a team for which no result cannot be turned upside-down. So after two sets I was waiting patiently for Italians to be more relaxed and for the French to be more determined to win. I feel sorry for Lanza, he somewhere became such a cool player, for sure he was the best yesterday on Italian side, and just one action was the key for France to open the doors to the victory. Nice game, Pippo, anyway :thumbup: On the other side, France amuse me so much when they celebrates some extra point :) Very nice team, overall, as long as N'Gapeth stays acceptable with his behaviour. I know, I know... someone is going to say to me suddenly - Kubiak and stuff :D


    Guys, what exactly happened to Salparov? I hope he will be ok for next matches. Also the absence of Niki Nikolov worries me a bit. I'm hoping there is a sense and logic of not putting him on court so he can start firing on more important stages of this tournament. Still I can't believe as well that Penchev is sending these super boring float serves...



    who was POL avenging against? please tell me, i wasn't following the 2010 WCh at the time.

    Well, it was weird tournament during which was more beneficial to loose than to win. Poland secured first place in first group (having a questionable win over Serbs whom clearly didn't want to win this) just to share the place with Bulgaria and Brazil in second group (and lose to both teams). And, as I remember well, then was also this "famous" game between Brazil and Bulgaria when Brazil had no real setter on court and the balls was distributed by Theo, while Bulgaria played without Kaziyski and Nikolov.
    Old times, still well remembered though... If we were stronger, we would win at least with one of Bulgaria/Brazil (ok, defeating Brazil was at that times sth like a daydream). But we weren't strong enough and that's the end of story.
    And nothing can justify our losing on purpose to Slovakia during ECH2011. The ends justify the means, huh? Believe me, I remember the bronze from this tournament and I remember the great matches but in the same time I remember as strongly that one match against Slovakia. I know that today's volleyball allows teams to manipulate. Still remains some disgust.
    Partly, I can understand Heynen. Why someone has to be saint if all the rest are not?


    No way they lost this on purpose when on the other side there's Germany, the joke of world's volleyball, and LOLgaria. However Serbia has always been a tough nut to crack, I believe we have far better chances to win against Russia.

    LOLgaria is not the happiest expression, you know? :huh: And I would be very careful calling Germany the joke of world's volleyball. I think I don't have to mention what other teams, also Italy, have on their conscience.

  • I'm really sorry for yesterday's result, I fear France and I consider it one of the best teams nowadays for their style of play. Anyway in the first two sets Italy managed to stop them, especially in the second one where Ngapeth went a bit in confusion... then I don't what it really happened, but now our road is harder! I believe this guys can beat Finland but especially Russia but we'll need a perfect performance! I see a good physical condition, I hope that after yesterday's lost they are even more angry!

  • Do you know in which hotel team Poland will stay in Sofia?

  • I'm really sorry for yesterday's result, I fear France and I consider it one of the best teams nowadays for their style of play. Anyway in the first two sets Italy managed to stop them, especially in the second one where Ngapeth went a bit in confusion... then I don't what it really happened, but now our road is harder! I believe this guys can beat Finland but especially Russia but we'll need a perfect performance! I see a good physical condition, I hope that after yesterday's lost they are even more angry!

    Although I didn't expected France to beat Italy from 0:2 to 3:2, I have to admit they have been participating in such games from both sides of the coin from 2006. If there is a team who can radically change after two sets of the same kind, it must be them.


  • Ivanov is a better player imo. I hope he will start vs Ger/Bel.

    +10 from me.

  • Can people from Poland help me and tell me what should I do if my Polsat dekoder shows no signal, check connection? It happens while it's snowing and snow probably disturbs "plate" in working on my roof. :thumbdown: Do they send repairer for free or no? It's about move or do somehting with this "plate" if you know what I mean.