Russia are the defending champions after winning the last edition of the CEV U19 Men Volleyball European Championship held in 2013 in Laktasi, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Luxembourg, January 6, 2015 - Only a few days after celebrating the New Year, Europe’s volleyball family is preparing for one of its busiest weekends ever with as many as 27 tournaments taking place this coming weekend in four different age-group competitions.
Thirty-two teams per gender are set to compete in 16 qualification tournaments – eight for men, another eight for women – whose outcome will determine the 11 squads that will join hosts Bulgaria and Turkey in the Final Round of the 2015 CEV U18 Women and U19 Men Volleyball European Championship.
Out of 11 organisers, five countries – Croatia, Germany, Russia, Serbia and Slovakia – will even be hosting two tournaments over the coming weekend, thereby providing an exceptional stage for Europe’s rising stars of the sport. As many as 90 matches – 45 per gender – will be played to determine the winners of the eight second-round qualifiers who along with the three second placed teams with the best score will make the Final Rounds scheduled for March 28-April 5 in Plovdiv and Samokov, Bulgaria (U18 Women) and for April 4-12 in Sakarya and Kocaeli, Turkey (U19 Men).
The upcoming tournaments will enjoy extensive coverage on the CEV website and also on the CEV social media accounts, so be sure to use the respective hashtags – #EuroVolleyU18W and #EuroVolleyU19M – to follow the latest updates on Twitter as well as on Facebook.
Georgia’s U19 men will be making their European debut in the competition whilst the U18 women’s national team from that same country is returning to the European stage for the first time since 2005. These teams are currently preparing for the 2015 edition of the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) that will take place in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi later this summer (July 25-August 1).
Russia won the 2013 edition of the U19 Men’s European Championship and their young lines will try to follow in the footsteps of a group that dominated all age group competitions in 2013 and 2014, doing so both in Europe as well on the global stage. The stars in the making of Russian volleyball will try to exploit home advantage as they host the teams of Hungary, the Netherlands and Georgia in Moscow, venue of Pool A. Other volleyball nations set to perform at home are France and Serbia, that will be hosting the matches in Pool B and C, while Poland – silver medalists in 2013 – are set to travel to Puchov to play hosts Slovakia and their neighbours Belarus.
Germany, on the other hand, will be vying for home glory in Frankfurt, while Bulgaria are hoping to exploit home advantage in Sofia where Slovenia might be their closest competitor for the top position in Pool E. Italy and Spain will prolong their rivalry in Pool G an Finland and Romania will attempt to upset the home heroes of Greece in Nea Ionia Magnisias.
Poland won gold in the 2013 edition of the women’s U18 European Championship after a dramatic final match with Italy. It is going to be a very demanding challenge now to repeat that feat for the younger generation that will start its campaign in Rovinj, playing the home heroines of Croatia and Finland in an attempt to first make the Final Round. Turkey and Serbia appear to be the clear-cut favourites for the top places in Pool A and B with Germany also set to exploit home advantage to impose their rule in Pool D.
Italy stands out as the top team in Pool E, but surprises are always around the corner at this age and so Slovakia, Portugal, and Norway will be trying to upset the ‘Azzurrine’ in Puchov. Montenegro and Latvia, two up-and-coming volleyball nations, are the hosts of Pool F and G, while Russia will try to make up for their disappointment at the last few women’s age-group Championships, hosting the Czech Republic, Denmark and Lithuania in Ramenskoe, near Moscow.