Larnaka, Cyprus, July 30, 2016 – With three teams in the final four Europe is dominating the men’s competition of the FIVB U19 World Championships in Larnaka. Florian Breer and Yves Haussener from Switzerland will play Latvian qualifiers Mihails Samoilovs and Kristaps Smits, while France’s Timothée Platre and Rémi Bassereau face Renato Lima De Carvalho and Rafael Mendonca de Quieroz in the semifinals on Sunday.
Breer and Haussener, the 2014 U17 world champions, defeated Germany’s Milan Sievers and Sven Winter 2-1 (18-21, 21-18, 15-10) in the quarterfinal on Saturday. The German pool winners had reached the quarterfinals with a win over Thailand’s Konsiphong and Keattisak (21-14, 21-11).
The Swiss were lucky on Saturday. As pool winners they already had a bye in the first knockout round, and their opponents in the second, Argentina’s Gonzalo Aulisi and Exequil Yacob, forfeited because of an injury.
This might have been the reason the Swiss had a bit of a slow start in the quarterfinal against Germany. “Maybe because of that we didn’t have our rhythm in the beginning”, admitted Haussener. “We didn’t make our side-out in the first set. But they also played well.”
“In the second we could change some things. And I think in the end it was better for us that we had only one match today. We had more energy at the end of the game.”
Despite being at least 10 centimetres shorter than their opponents, both Swiss players managed to get some big blocks at important moments. Haussener: “Our secret is that we just don’t block every time. So it’s more of a surprise blocking, they don’t expect it. The other secret is timing. You have to be on the right place at the right time.”
The Swiss had already beaten the Germans once before, also in three sets, at the CEV U18 last year, where they ended up with the bronze. “It’s always close against them and it’s always great to win.”
On home soil, at the U21 in Lucerne in May, they finished a disappointing fifth, losing to Mexico in the quarterfinal. “In Lucerne we were also in front in the third set and we knew that we had to do this now. Maybe the experience from Lucerne helped us win this time”, said Haussener.
While the Swiss only played four matches in total to reach the final four, their opponents in the semifinals, Latvians Samoilovs and Smits, played eight, coming all the way from qualification. On Saturday they knocked out Brazilian qualifiers Pisco De Abreu and Felipe De Oliveira (21-17, 23-25, 18-16) and Spain’s Oscar Jimenez and Alejandro Huerta (21-17, 21-19).
The third semifinalists Platre and Bassereau, booked three wins on Saturday against Iran’s Ali and Aghajani (21-13, 21-6), Poland’s Maciej Lewicki and Adam Lenc (17-21, 21-17, 17-15) and Ukraine’s Tymofii Poluian and Dmytro Vietskiy (21-18, 21-13).
The quarterfinal against the Ukrainians was a rematch of the 2015 U18 European Championship final, which was won by the French. While the Ukrainians made a lot of unforced errors the 17-year old French executed well and won the game in only 31 minutes.
“We played well, my partner blocked very well and I had good defence. It has been up and down in this tournament because it was really hot and we are tired, but we are happy with the way we played this match and happy to reach the semis”, said Platre.
Their opponents on Sunday, FIVB debutants Renato (16) and Rafael (18), defeated Kazachstan’s Abdulmajid Mokhammad and Nurdos Aldash (21-8, 21-9) and Russia’s Sergey Gorbenko and Vasilii Ivanov (18-21, 21-17, 15-11) before they knocked out Mexicans Miguel Sarabia and Raymond Stephens (21-19, 21-14) in the quarterfinals.Quick Links
• U19 World Championships Larnaka, Cyprus 2016 - website
• Qualification - Men
• Qualification - Women
• Main draw - Men
• Main draw - Women