CEV EuroVolley 2021 | Men
CEV EuroVolley 2021 | Men
Since Monday fans have had the chance to vote for their All Star team at EuroVolley Men, and they did in their thousands. Sunday saw an incredible tie-break finale to EuroVolley 2021 where Italy consigned Slovenia to their 3rd silver medal in 6 years. A thrilling 3-2 win for the Italians, their seventh European Championship title in total, not only completed an historic double [after their women’s team won Gold in Belgrade a couple of weeks earlier], but capped an amazing summer for Italian sport involving the European men’s football title, many Olympic Gold Medals from Tokyo and a number of other historic success stories.
Following the line first set at the Super Finals, then at EuroVolley women, fans from across the globe were given the opportunity of voting for their favourite players who would form the Fans’ Choice All Star Team of the tournament.
A total of 375,394 votes across the seven positional categories were cast from people all over the globe and the results were clear in most categories.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest number of players selected to be part of the All Star Team come from the European Champions Italy, however the elected MVP of the tournament, Italian Simone Giannelli, missed out on a place in the team as Slovenian setter Gregor Ropret and Silver medallist with Slovenia won that category. All together there was a strong representation from five countries, the four who contested the semi-finals along with the competitions top scorer, Nimir Abdel-Aziz from The Netherlands.
Here is the CEV EuroVolley 2021 – Men All Star Team as voted by you, the fans!
No longer the able deputy, Slovenian setter Gregor Ropret had a long run in the team at the VNL and has not looked back. When the pressure came on and Slovenia needed a cool head who could deliver to his sides attackers, Slovenia’s coach more often than not look to Gregor. Their sides performance level is closely linked to how effective they are on side-out and the thrilling fourth set in the semi-final with Poland is the perfect evidence of that.
The competitions Top Scorer would have been difficult to ignore, especially given the fact that he achieved an impressive 173 points, with a set average of 6.65 points a set. Even more remarkable was that he was forty points clear of second placed Alessandro Michieletto – who actually played five sets more than the Dutch number 14. Nimir also understandably won the vote for Top Performer in Pool C, but will look back with some regret about not being able to push his team to the Semi-Finals.
The big Serbian blocker was the driving force for the reigning champions through the middle. With 20 kill blocks from eight matches, he stood fourth in the blocking charts with 0.69 blocks a set. As with any blocker though it is also when you get your blocks that matters, and in a match with very few blocks with Turkey, “Potke” stood up when it mattered most and helped drive his team into the quarter-finals – therefore avoiding the Qualifiers for EuroVolley 2023.
In a team with multiple high quality middle options, the experienced head of Piotr Nowakowski was who Poland’s coach Vital Heynen looked to for the majority of the competition. Being Poland’s pick for the Pool A Top Performer says a lot, but when you look at the blocking charts Piotr is an impressive ten blocks clear of second placed Simone Anzani, and was also the only person to get an average of over 1 block per set (recording 1.07). With 32 blocks to his name, Nowakowski set an all-time record in a EuroVolley Final Round.
Up until the final it is fair to say that Italy’s number 19 had stood in the shadow of the rising superstar Alessandro Michieletto, however with Slovenia going after the number 18 it quickly became apparent who setting Giannelli would be feeding the most on attack. With 119 points (3.72 set average) Daniele will look back fondly at EuroVolley 2021 – and be far happier with his contribution following the final, where he top scored with 21 points.
What more is there to say about the teenager who has burst on the scene through the Super Finals, the VNL, the Tokyo Olympics and now EuroVolley. It has been quite a summer and it is clear to everyone that he is just getting started. Sitting second in the competitions scoring charts will please him greatly, as will winning the Pool B & semi-final Top Performer vote, but finding his serving arm when it mattered most in the fifth set of the final will be the story that will be told for many years to come!
Completing the trio for Italy is their 25 year old Libero who often is the life and soul of a team who very much played as just that – a team. Consistent in reception, and sometimes point saving in defence (make sure you check out the up of Pajenk in the fifth set), Fabio will be proud of his part in Italy’s scramble defence. With plenty more years ahead, he will surely only get better and better.