Slovenia celebrate: Group 3 victory as World League rookie
Frankfurt am Main, Germany, July 2, 2016 – The Vice-European Champion Slovenia is the FIVB World League Group 3 Champion 2016. The east Europeans defeated the home heroes from Germany in four sets (25-19, 25-18, 21-15, 25-20) to crown their first ever World League appearance with the gold medal. Additionally the team of legend Andrea Giani earned a spot for the Intercontinental Group 2 in the next year. Best scorer of the game was Tine Urnaut who scored 17 points. Germanys Christian Fromm made 13 points in a thrilling final.
2.200 spectators saw a single-edged final in the first two sets. Germany had so many problems in controlling the ball and attacks that caused no problems on the Slovenian side. The Vice-European Champion dominated the game with a strong service and went up to 16-10 till the second technical time-out. German coach Vital Heynen struggled with an injury of his opposite Simon Hirsch who had to be replace by Daniel Malescha. It was not the preliminary reason but Germany wasn’t able to fight back and lost it 19-25. With Hirsch back on the field, the European Games Champion tried to set the pace with a faster way of playing. It didn’t work due to too many faults of the hosts. So it was no surprise that the most excited moment was a yellow card for German Coach Heynen after a long discussion with the referees. A missed German service closed it again with a huge advantage for Slovenia (19-25).
Right from the beginning of the third set, Germany finally found a way into the match and fought bravely to prevent the defeat. German opposite Simon Hirsch was the game changer and convinced with strong attacks and blocks to lead his team to a small margin of two points (12-10). The preliminary decision was made with a German three-man block (20-16) and a service winner by Philipp Collin to 24-20. Middle-blocker Tim Broshog, who switched in the team during the third set, scored the last point with a nice lob over his opponents (25-21). Both teams delivered a great and tight show in the fourth chapter as well. Even German outside-spiker Dirk Westphal proofed his skills in the block right before the second technical time-out (13-15). Germany tried everything in the end but the strong Slovenian service tilted the momentum to their opponents again. A shot by Gasparini freaked out his team that celebrated their first ever World League medal after a 25-20.