CEV Men’s European Championship 2019 - hosts France, Slovenia, Belgium and the Netherlands

  • If I did the Math correctly, Russia, Germany, Serbia, Italy, Bulgaria, the Czech Rep., Poland, and Turkey, alongside the 4 hosts - France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Slovenia, should have already secured berths at the 2019 ECH.

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    The Euro 2019 qualifiers start today. 12 teams will join the 4 hosts and other 8 that qualified through the 2017 ECH. Here, we will be looking for 7 group winners and the 5 best runner-ups. How they are going to compare the groups of 3 teams with those with 4 is unclear to me. There is a way in in football, the matches against the bottom-places teams are not considered for this runner-ups ranking but I have no idea if that will be the case here.

  • There is a way in in football, the matches against the bottom-places teams are not considered for this runner-ups ranking but I have no idea if that will be the case here.

    Yes, that is what they will doing for this tournament as well

  • I have really enjoyed the qualifiers so far! Yes, not every team performs as expected, some even disappoint, but there are a few surprises as well and overall it once again shows that European volleyball map has been growing. And although there will still be outsiders at the finals, the gap is not as big as it used to be. What I also particularly like is that real work towards creating a team has been done in some countries. Norway, Denmark, Albania, Luxembourg, Sweden, Moldova may lack a lot of talents, but have an exciting mixture of players that can get some damage. And those teams are even in possession of a few very decent players that can score 20+ points in a match and change its outcome.

    Yes, I agree Sweden should've been a bit more consistent. They would've still found it hard to challenge Greece for first place even in their best days, but a second-place finish in that group was a must. Those who follow European volleyball broadly know that Luxembourg, even if Rychlicki is their only "star" player, are no walkover team and that the number of clubs and people registered to play volleyball there is impressive even for a country of a (not much) bigger size. And they have had some decent results on international and club level before, so it comes as no surprise to me that they could beat Sweden. Azerbaijan is what we should talk about. Not in possession of even one famous player, they achieved some remarkable results and almost beat Greece at home in the last round. I haven't watched them yet, to be honest, and perhaps they will not accumulate the necessary number of points to advance to the Euro finals, yet a runner-up position will be quite an achievement, don't you think? It is also very possible that one of the two weakest runner-ups (in terms of points for the runner-ups ranking) will come from this group.

    Finland were perhaps the strongest team that had to play in the qualies. And they will hope to make it to the Euro as a runner-up! I am very happy that Romania, a team with very interesting players and tradition in the game, will make its first Euro Champ appearance in... I don't even know how long.

    I am a bit disappointed that Latvia got beaten heavily in Israel, perhaps they might have deserved a Euro berth as a runner-up. Estonia did well, otherwise.

    Moldova, mentioned earlier, weren't to be underestimated as I said. Montenegro paid the price for that. The match in January in Slovakia will determine the group winner, but I hope both Slovakia and Montenegro make it to the finals.

    I am bit disappointed by Croatia, to be honest. Albania have Husaj and Qafarena, the latter with some experience in the German Bundesliga, and have raised their team level, too. 40 points by Qafarena in the home win against Austria (without Berger so far) and then 3-1 against Croatia without Husaj. These are great results! Sure, Croatia and Austria should've done better, especially Austria. Hadn't watched them much without Berger to say if they are strongly dependent on him, but it would be a pity if that is the case. This is one of the most intriguing pools in the qualifiers.

    Belarus and especially Ukraine look solid and should make it to the finals. Very happy for one of the best volleyball schools in Europe - Ukraine, they will appear in their first Euro since 2005. And they have very a talented squad, I look forward to watching them again.

    Norway is another team on the rise. There was a very interesting article on CEV's page regarding the trainings, the availability, and tactics of this Norwegian team. Kvalen, Huus, Loftesnes and co. with 2 wins at home. They remind me of the Albanian team in terms of home results efficiency. I don't know how serious Belarus will take their last match in Norway, we may see another surprise here if Spain fail to make it as a runner-up.

    Good volleyball and a relatively logical ranking in Pool F. In the last round, Macedonia and Hungary should decide the runner-up and maybe even one of the last remaining Euro quotas. Based on their roster and recent European League results, it won't be unusual for Macedonia to make a Euro Champ debut (if I am not mistaken).