“Red Dragons left it in the first set,” says national coach Fernando Munoz

“Red Dragons hebben het in de eerste set laten liggen”, meent bondscoach Fernando Munoz

The Red Dragons also lost their second game at the European Volleyball Championship on Friday in Krakow, Poland. Against Portugal, they were still 2-0 behind, but in the end they had to beat the game with 3-2. The set positions were 25-23, 25-22, 20-25, 18-25 and 15-13.

“We left it in the first set,” says national coach Fernando Munhoz. “We are four points ahead and we have chances to finish the set, but we didn’t. If that was the case, we talked about another match. I am proud of the team because they gave everything. Portugal played very well. The fifth set is always a dime on its side and that fell in favor of Portugal today. The substitutes also did an excellent job. Tomorrow’s race is very important and we will focus on that to keep our chances of qualifying intact.”

“We are now being pushed with our backs against the wall, because this was an important game for the next phase of the tournament”, realizes Sam Deroo. “Now we have to get six out of six against Greece and Ukraine. On the other hand, we played much better volleyball from set three. It will be a long tournament so it is good to see how our substitutes clearly offer added value during the match and that they are ready to come on.”

Hard nut to crack

“This loss comes in very hard,” says Mathijs Verhanneman. “We turn a 2-0 deficit into 2-2 and even a lead in the fifth set. We need to be able to increase our level even more once we can put our foot next to an opponent. We still have games to go, we’ve made it a little harder on ourselves, but we’re going to do everything we can to win more games. We are now turning the knob and going back to it tomorrow against Greece.”

On Thursday, the Belgians opened with a 3-1 defeat against Serbia, on Saturday against Greece, on Monday against Poland and on Tuesday against Ukraine. With one point, they are currently sixth and last in the group. The top four qualify for the eighth finals.


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