We helped volleyball become the best in Europe


Four years ago, when the Russian team won the European championship (before 12 times, won the team of the USSR), in the first match of the tournament here in Poland, she sensationally lost to Germany 0:3. But then, unlike the opponent, lost somewhere on the way, reached the final. And so this time had to contend with the same Germans, but in the last decisive game of the same tournament.

photo: AP

Returning on the eve of the semifinal with the Belgians in Krakow hotel met famous Polish player Krzysztof Ignashka that during the championship commented on the events on local TV. Of course you couldn’t not ask about the prognosis of former players for the final match Russia — Germany. “If the Germans will fly flow, then your kids will not be easy. Today they are the element has failed. Kaliberda wrong 8 times, Grazer — 6. But this is one of the primary experts to introduce the ball into play in the German national team. In all, only to feed the Germans lost 26 (!) points. Wonder how they ever managed to win the match against the Serbs. But the day to day. In the final, having got used to the audience, the opponent can create your players a lot of trouble. Although the Russian team looks in the championship is preferable to all other participants.” And it is right was a Polish volleyball player: filing the Germans actually flew, and we immediately had problems with the reception, which led to difficulties with the organization of the attack.

The team of Germany and its individual volleyball players are well familiar to Russians — those who are in the team for a long time. George Groser, the main diagonal of the Germans, a few years appeared in Belgorod, and in the current season will put on the form of the Novosibirsk “Locomotive”. The main binder and the team captain Lukas Kampa is too long played in the “Belogorye”, but did not come to court and moved to Kharkov. The core of the team are doigrovshchik — a native of Ukraine, Denis Kaliberda and Christian Fromm and the highest (211 cm) in the German team blocker Marcus böhme.

They announced the withdrawal from the national team after she missed the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. But who led this year’s national team Andrea Jani managed to persuade leading players to return. And on the eve of the decisive matches in Krakow, the Italian coach of the Germans confided to me that without Groser and his team would not rise so high.

This German four — Grazer, Fromm, Kaliberda and Boehme — gave us the most trouble, but mostly the old familiar Groser was for our team a sort of evil genius. And submission he flew, and offensively, he was unstoppable. But if in the first set, the Russians somehow managed to hold back, then the leader of the German team cleared in earnest. That, alas, cannot be said about his counterpart Maxim Mikhailov: errors in the submission, and the second lost by the Russians set in eight previous attempts in attack were sold only one.

Samoyed Mikhailov is always hard experiencing failure. To recover, he definitely needed to get some points. And he did, twice catching the eye in attack. But my opponent had a very good answer in the face… Yes, that Grosera. Only now not one he is well assisted in attack partners. Yes, in fact, one former “Belgorod” was enough — he was so good.

The duel of the two players continued for the whole match and ended in the fifth and decisive game.

I recall how the previous four ended: 25:19 in favor of Russia 20:25 — the account on sets became equal, 25:22 we went ahead 17:25 — the Germans re-aligned position.

In the decisive short party our first conceded, and Sergey Shlyapnikov took a break after the score on the scoreboard 5:2. And here, it seems that the leader of the German team lost their nerve: twice he sent the ball out of bounds, waving a hand around the Russian block, 5:5.

The efforts of Dmitry Volkov and Mikhailov managed to break away — 12:9! Then 13:10. But Groser and the company reduced the deficit to the minimum after Mikhailov earned the matchball — 14:13. And then blundered Maxim Zhigalov, which in this championship not once been able to finish matches with aces. But the mistake of the partner is corrected Mikhailov. He brought gold, a decisive point.

And then together with the European “gold” received the prize of most valuable player of the tournament.

So for the second time in the history of Russian men’s volleyball team became the champion of Europe.

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