An unexpected triumph. The Czech volleyball players swept the Olympic winners and are in the quarterfinals of the European Championships


The Czech volleyball players advanced to the quarterfinals of the European Championships, shocked France with the help of the audience in Ostrava and defeated the recent Olympic winners from Tokyo 3-0 after sets of 25:22, 25:19 and 34:32. In Wednesday’s fight for the semifinals, Jiří Novák’s charges will face the reigning European vice-champions, the Slovenians, who beat 3: 1 in their opening match of the tournament.

The Czechs are in the quarterfinals of the European Championship after four years and again after the eight-final victory over France. In 2017, they defeated the then defending champion 3: 1 in Katowice.

The volleyball players won their third match at this year’s European Championship and more than twice managed to succeed in one European Championship tournament for the first time in 20 years. The last time they did it was in Ostrava, where in 2001 they finally finished fourth.

The Czechs surprised the French with their arrival, and Galabov twice caught receiving the star smirk Ngapeth. After the successful block of the Pole, the home team thrilled the audience with a 4-0 lead and did not let the opponent in front of them in the set. Enthusiastic and courageous performance supported by excellent service and five blocks brought the lead until 18:11. Although it thinned to the difference of a point (21:20), the last word was given to the player from the French league Adam Bartoš, who came to the board for Galabov in the end.

Smečař Bartoš continued on the board in the second set, and after a colorful recording by Bartůňek, the universal Hadrava succeeded in the attack, attacking sharply and serving well. Overall, by submitting volleyball players, they otherwise disrupted the precise defense of France and largely eliminated their attack in the middle. They played hard and smart and coach Novák shook his opponents’ heads by substitutions. In the end, he sent Lick to serve, who prepared a setball, and the startled French ended the set by feeding it into the net.

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In the third set, the home team lost by three points 7:10, but Bartoš forced France to make a mistake in the attack with a great service and the Czechs turned to 12:11. At 22:24, the volleyball players turned away two sets, the second thanks to Lick’s service, and after Zajíček’s block they had the first match ball. However, the French managed to avert another three Czech possibilities to end the duel. At the fifth match, they had a great chance at 29:28, but a misunderstanding in the field deprived them of the possibility of an attack.

The video helped the sixth match and after the smash into the French car, the Czechs were already happy with the progress, but the video, on the other hand, revealed contact with the network and continued. The seventh and eighth swordsmen followed. The last was the ninth, in which Zajíček succeeded on the block. The hall exploded with enthusiasm and the volleyball players celebrated the advance.

European Volleyball Championship – round of 16 in Ostrava:

CR – France 3: 0 (22, 19, 32)

Judges: Aro (Fin.), Porvazník (SR). Time: 92 min. Attendance: 3896.

Lineup and points of the Czech Republic: Galabov 3, Zajíček 6, Hadrava 18, Vašina 15, Polák 9, Bartůněk, libero Moník – Finger 1, Janouch, A. Bartoš 6, Licek. Coach: Novák.

Most points France: Patry 20, Ngapeth 12.

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