Greece finished eighth in the European Volleyball Championships held in Turkey last week after their 3-0 loss to unbeaten Poland in Izmir.
Despite qualifying for the second round unbeaten, Greece lost to Germany, France and finally Poland as the intensity of the tournament increased with the medals in sight.
The 3-0 loss against Poland was closer than the set score would indicate. Poland used a number of substitutes in this game but still overpowered the Greeks 25-22, 28-26, 25-20.
This result has left Greece at the fourth spot of the six-team group in the top-12, therefore finishing just outside the top-six of the competition that qualify directly to the next European Championship in 2011.
“What we have gained from this tournament is respect. Our self-confidence has grown, but we still have a bittersweet taste after scoring three wins at the start and then losing three matches in the second stage,” said Greece coach Dimitris Kazazis, summing up the championship from Greece’s point of view.
The previous match in Pool E, was Greece’s last throw of the die and unfortunately for Greece, they came up in France’s favour.
France defeated Greece 3:1, controlling the game during the first, third and fourth set, whilst the Greeks had their best moments in the second period.
Greece went into Pool E as favourites to beat Germany, who were ranked third after the completion of Pool A matches.
Germany shocked the Hellenes by winning 3:1, as Greece was unable to replicate their outstanding performance from the previous round, when Kazazis’ side beat the 2007 defending champions Spain, Slovakia as well as Slovenia.
Germany took out the first set quite easily, winning 25-14.
The second was a much tighter affair, with both sides swapping the lead, though Germany eventually won it 33-31.
But despite Greece bouncing back strongly in the third period (25-14), the Germans continued their run to close it out the match 3:1.