The top four teams in Europe are prepping for the climax of a majestic and history-breaking CEV EuroVolley 2019. The anticipation is mounting in Ankara where the semis will be taking place on Saturday before a sell-out crowd of some 12,000 people. Serbia and Italy will go for a repeat of last year’s World Championship dramatic gold medal match while co-hosts Turkey and Poland will lock horns in a match reminding everyone of the European Championship title-deciding game played in Ankara back in 2003. Sixteen years ago, Poland beat Turkey 3-0 – but as the Polish coach said at Friday’s media meeting, this is the past and this generation of players – on both sides of the net – is willing to write their own chapter of Volleyball history.

Captains and head coaches during the media meeting

“We are happy that we are among the top four teams in Europe. We can say that we are proud of what we have done thus far. Our opponent Poland have made it to the EuroVolley semis after a very long time. They are playing much disciplined and they are a very good team. They have good attackers. I hope we can play good Volleyball in front of the amazing fans we have here in Ankara.”

Eda Erdem Dündar
captain of Turkey

Giovanni Guidetti, head coach of Turkey:

“We are extremely happy that we will have a chance to play two more matches in front of our amazing fans. We are proud of what we have done so far and of course, we want to finish this tournament in the best possible way. Our next opponent is Poland. Poland are very strong in attack and they have tall players. We have to prepare very, very carefully for the semi-final match. It will be a very important match for us and our fans as well.”

Jacek Nawrocki, head coach of Poland:

“Qualification to the semi-finals is something very meaningful for Polish women’s Volleyball. I know that ‘appetite comes with eating’, but we came here to fight hard for every ball, for every point in every game and look for our chance. My girls showed that they can play well and if they catch a good flow, they are able to compete with everyone. We know that Turkey will be determined to beat us, but we will not give up and we will fight for a win. In the past, Poland was successful when competing here, but I do not like this historical aspects and comparisons. Now, we have a new team, which write their own history and a new chapter of women’s Volleyball in Poland.”

Agnieszka Kąkolewska, captain of Poland:

“We came here with a huge appetite for a medal! Now we can only fight for it. We are extremely happy that we are among the EuroVolley top four. The last matches proved that we are able to fight with every team, including all those competing in the final stage. We will do our job. I believe that many Turkish fans will attend this game, but it will not influence our performance, since we will just imagine that they are supporting us.”

Davide Mazzanti, coach of Italy:

“I am very happy with my team’s performance in the tournament. We played a great match against Russia in the quarterfinals. The match against Russia was the best preparation we could get for the semi-final. We cannot wait to play Serbia. It will be a great challenge. I am curious to see the level of that game. In sports, a match does not change the past but it changes the future. We will try to perform at our best against a great team like Serbia.”

Cristina Chirichella, captain of Italy:

“This tournament has been a very long one. Of course, that was also the case at the 2018 World Championship. Now, we are going to face one of the strongest teams in Europe. Last year they won the World Championship. We expect a tough game for both teams because it is a EuroVolley semi-final. We are going to play our best – that is for sure.”

Zoran Terzić, coach of Serbia:

“This semi-final against Italy will be like a great derby. If you check the ranking list, these are the two best teams, nowadays. However, considering the current shape and how all teams have been performing this far, the second semi-final pair stands for high-quality Volleyball as well. The game against Italy will be definitely a very tough one, probably similar to the match from the 2018 World Championship, when we played a five-setter. I think that at this moment, both Italy and Serbia, still have some reserves and still have not showed their best Volleyball. Both teams have many exceptional players, so it should be an interesting and high-class game.”

Maja Ognjenović, captain of Serbia:

“We cannot wait to play. Italy is one of the best teams in the world. We played against them last year in the final of the World Championship. It is motivating for sure. We are expecting a good game. This semi-final is going to be a final before the final. We are expecting a great match between Poland and Turkey but I think our match will be a very interesting and tough one.”