It’s do-or-die time in the 2013 Men’s European Volleyball Championships, and it’s down to the last 12 countries to vie for the crown. Four teams have automatically advanced to the quarterfinal round and the remaining eight teams each battle in a one-game playoff to stay alive in the tournament held in Denmark and Poland.
Maan of the Netherlands jumps for the ball against Slovenia's Urnaut, Kamnik and Vincic during their 2013 Velux European Championship men's Group C volleyball match in Herning
Sixteen nations originally qualified for the 2013 EuroVolley and the field was divided into four groups with four teams each. At the end of the group stages, Slovenia, Turkey, Belarus and Czech Republic placed dead last in their respective groups and got booted out from the tournament.
The top-ranked teams from each group-- Belgium, France, Finland and Germany—will enjoy the playoffs bye and advance to the quarterfinals, awaiting the winners of the group’s middle-tiered teams who will battle in the knockout affair.
The playoffs are set on Sept 24, 2013 in two venues, the NR Gi Arena and Hala Ergo Arena in Aarhus, Denmark ,and in Gdańsk/Sopot, Poland, respectively.
In Aarhus, Serbia plays Denmark and then Italy takes on the Netherlands. Belgium awaits the winner of the Serbia-Denmark clash and Finland faces the survivor in the Italy-Netherlands match-up.
Curiously, the top four ranked teams in Europe will battle in the playoffs just to get to the quarterfinals. Russia, the most recent Olympic champion is ranked #1, while Poland, Bulgaria and Serbia are ranked 2nd to 4th in the most recent European men’s volleyball rankings.
Conversely, automatic quarterfinals qualifiers Germany, France and Finland are ranked 6th to 8th in the same European rankings. The surprise of the tournament so far is Belgium, which is ranked 17th in Europe and yet have joined the teams that have moved on to the last eight.
The Men’s European Championship is staged every second year by the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) and the most recent champion is Serbia winning in the championship held in Austria and Czech Republic.
Russia holds the record for the most medals (20) and most gold medals (12) in the European championships. The last one came in 1991 however when they were still known as the Soviet Union. Italy is second in the all-time medal rankings with 11 total medals, six of which of the gold variety.
2013 Men’s European Volleyball Championships Live Streaming and Schedule LINK
Sept 24 - 5:00 pm local time (Sept 25 - 1:00 am Australia)
Italy vs. Netherlands
Russia vs. Slovakia
Sept 24 - 8:00 pm local time (Sept 25 - 4:00 am Australia)
Poland vs. Bulgaria
Serbia vs. Denmark
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