Posts by Richard

    One observation from recent U18 and U20 European Championships is the excellent performance of the Czech teams, winning silver in both tournaments. This probably means they recently have invested more in the preparation for these teams: good thing for Czech and European volleyball overall.

    I watched last nights WEVZA-final (U18 - former 8 Nations tournament) between Italy and Belgium:

    Italian team won easily in 3 straight sets (-15,-20,-20):

    Boy, what a great team, this Italian U18:

    • Stefani: scoring machine, definitely future opposite of Italian team.
    • Catania: excellent libero, very athletic, spectacular in defense.
    • Porro: great setter, excellent setting technique, great serve.
    • Michieletto: left-handed, tall, wing spiker.

    A lot of individual talent, but also very mature, intelligent as a team.

    This selection lost semi final against Czech team in the last U18 EC, so that makes me curious about this Czech team.

    Last week, Top Volley Antwerp announced that they will withdraw from this year's competition in the Belgian Volley League (

    It was already clear last May that the club was struggling to survive, because of financial issues.

    In an official announcement, they state the club only withdraws for the coming year and hopes to re-enter the pro league in the following season.
    Now there is a debate going on whether that is even possible, legally.

    In any case, this is bad news for Belgian club volley: Antwerp usually succeeded in assembling a competitive pro team, their venue (Arenahal, Deurne) had a nice atmosphere, great public.

    Roeselare, Maaseik and Aalst (former Lennik) are the main contenders, as usual.
    Parky Menen is best of the rest.
    Haasrode-Leuven has an interesting young team, a lot of players with a history in national youth teams and Flemish volleyball formation center, Vilvoorde (topsportschool).

    Germany - Belgium: 3-1 (25-18, 25-23, 22-25, 28-26)

    Grözer (30), Fromm (15), Krick (12)

    This indicates how important Grözer is for this team.

    Remember, Belgium blew away Germany, without Grözer, in the WC qual in July (-16,-16,-17)…age.aspx?mID=30647&ID=976

    If anybody knows where to find complete stats of this game, I'd be very interested.

    Tonight, they play a second friendly game.

    Heynen, in a post-match interview, was especially pleased with the (Belgian) team's block defense.
    He added they managed to "fatigue" the German team with the tournament's schedule and still considers the German team to have to the most individual talent.

    I saw the game "live" and have to say I've never seen the Belgian team play a better game (16 blocks in 3 sets, 2 main attackers scoring over 70%).
    Indeed, block-defense was way better than in last World League campaign (in part thanks to libero Stuer, now taking the starting spot).

    Let's see if they can confirm tommorow against Estland.
    The players are very aware the qualification is not yet sealed, they've had too many tough games against Estland in recent years.

    Wow, Belgium. :wall:
    I have hardly seen this in male volleyball. From 21:15 to 24:26. That was even worse than the first set....

    This is indeed very frustrating (as a Belgian fan), we should have got at least 2 sets out of this match and gain us some confidence for the remainder of the tournament.
    All frustration aside, I've seen some great block-defense (Van de Voorde finally in great shape again), good tacktical serving, good stats in attack by Rousseaux (if only he could lower his mistakes in reception).
    Not sure what's wrong with Klinkenberg: 2nd set was embarrasing (in last EC, he had some equally bad performances when getting substituted into the team). He's a better player than that, hope he recovers.

    Germany is facing a tough tournament: Poland and Serbia will have less compassion.

    Interesting results from the Belgian team:
    they played the French team twice (28/12, 29/12) and remained undefeated.
    Apparently, a lot of errors in serve an attack by the French team.

    I like the fact that Belgian coach Bayens keeps his preference for Rousseaux as 2nd outside hitter.
    The Belgian team misses Depestele (injury), Verhanneman (just turned father of twin son and daughter),
    Dejonckheere and Colson (cancelled out of fear for injury, much to coach Baeyens' dissatisfaction).

    1st game, Tours: 0-3 (23-25, 22-25, 18-25)

    Ngapeth 14, Rouzier 17, Le Roux, Le Goff, Toniutti, Tillie, libro Grebennikov
    Valkiers 1, Deroo 12, Verhees 8, Van Walle 14, Rousseaux 3, Van de Voorde 5, libero Ribbens. (Klinkenberg 3, D’Hulst, Van de Velde)…ppen-europees-kampioen-2/…e=actu&actid=MzQ4MA%3D%3D

    2nd game: 2-2 (21-25, 19-25, 25-18, 25-19)

    1st set, both teams with starting line-up.
    2nd set, French substitutes against first Belgian line-up
    3th and 4th: all substitutes.

    I hope the Belgian team will manage to surprise at least 1 team (Poland, Germany, Serbia).
    I think the short preparation makes the overall result definitely less predictable.

    To me Grebennikov and Tillie were so far the most consistent players from France aling the way. Never a weak match from them. Never!

    For once at least Rouzier played well. :rolleyes: I still find him inconsistent anyway...

    I agree on consistent performance by Grebennikov and Tillie.
    I would add Le Roux as well: big difference between French team a few years ago and the current team is their solid middle compartiment
    (Le Roux - Le Goff <=> Hardy-Dessourses - Vadeleux).
    Rouzier usually irritates me because of the amount of errors in attack he commits, but his performance in semi- and final was huge.

    I'm not trying to undermine Belgium's accomplishments but it's reasonable to believe that the CEV will be inclined to use the best result as a tie-breaker of two teams with the same number of points. How can you seriously leave out the European champion and let the 10th place in?

    As a tie-breaker, I suggest to use the outcome of their latest direct confrontation.

    Kick Belgium out. Either by moral standards (yeah, FIVB morals) of having the ECH champion competing.
    Or simply by giving priority to the biggest CEV result, a team that won 100 points from winning a tournament over another who never won anything. In the case of two tied teams it makes sense to rank them based on the best result, right?

    Keep your hands of Belgium, they've deserved these points fair and square:

    • European League 2013 overall win (against Croatia, Turkey, Czeck Republick)
    • 2 World League participations: 2014 (group first before Australia, Canada, ... ), 2015 (again group first before Netherlands, Finland, Portugal)
    • Current European Championship: win over Slovenia, to name just that.

    All my respect for Slovenian Team and their current achievements, but in last year's European League they had to settle in 4th place after Greece, Montenegro and Former Y.R. Macedonia.
    That was an opportunity to collect those few points they probably will fall short of.

    Physical decline of Italian players are evident.I can't see them beating Russia,Poland and France/Serbia/Bulgaria in a row. Reception is in comical level right now. Perhaps Halkbank adventure destroyed Juantorena's reception. Decline of Giannelli's pass quality must be a worrying sign.
    Finland needs change its coach. This is the worst Finland I've seen.

    Finnish team lacks influx of young talent, imo.
    They're retiring a great generation: Esko, Konnari, Oivanen brothers, ...: smaller countries or smaller federations have a hard time delivering talented players on a steady cadence.
    The Swedish had their generation 87 - 90 (Hedengard, Björne, Gustafsson, Nilsson, Tholse, Saaf), Spain 90'-2000 (Pascual, Molto, Falasca bros, ...), even Czeck team 2000's (Lebl, Dubs, Novak, Rak, ...) and Dutch '90s, ...
    but, after that struggle to build up a new super generation.
    I'm afraid Finland now is at the end of a similar cycle.

    Being a Belgian fan must be the most difficult and frustrating task in the world :aww:

    True, there's a recurring theme in 3 of the last 4 games:

    • first let your opponent walk all over you and give a set away for free
    • then, finally find some consistency and (almost) take a set from your opponent that's trying to wake up from the nap he slipt into

    In 4 games, we lose 5 sets by 7 points or more. This lack of consistency is terrible.

    First set against Germany tonight again was an embarrassment.
    In the second set, they have to rely way too much on Deroo.

    I think Valkiers played a good tournament, only today he made some questionnable desicions:
    - setting on Baetens in Pipe (on set point!)
    - not keeping Van Walle in the game during second set (and exhausting Deroo too much).

    We missed Van de Voorde in top shape (barely recovered from 5 month injury): his skills in blocking and attack are desperately needed.
    Together with Deroo, I consider him the top class player in our line-up, capable of making a difference in games like tonight.

    Coach Bayens' reasoning for having Baetens in the line-up, is mainly cause of his serve reception.
    I think Gert-Jan Claes would make a far better choice than Baetens: Claes is more secure in reception, better server and attack.
    However, for some reason, coach Baeyens is choosing consistenty Baetens over Claes (Claes was not in the selection).

    Overall, this team isn't progressing anymore: we were able to surprise top teams in the past (Poland, EC2007, France, EC2011-OlympicQT2011, Italy EC2013), but not in this championship.
    We need all our players in top shape, and break-through of some of the younger player;

    I hope Rousseaux will be a more frequent choice in future starting line-ups.
    And let's hope Francois Lecat will have some playing opportunity with Verona (next to Sander and U. Kovacevic).
    There's also a rumour that Wijsmans is trying to get some administration done, in order to play in the olympic qualification tournament in January.