Russia will get to defend its gold medal after winning the 2016 Men’s Volleyball European Qualification Tournament. Eight teams were split into two groups of four where the top two advance to the semi-finals. The winner of the tournament secured a spot to the Olympics. The Men’s Volleyball European Qualification Tournament was held in Berlin, Germany from January 5th to January 10th 2015.
Germany and Poland were able to win their first two matches of Pool A with wins over Belgium and Serbia. Between the four matches only Serbia was able to win a set against Poland to prevent the sweep. The final match of the group between Poland and Germany went the distance as a fifth set was required to determine which team won the group. Germany would gain an early lead in the set and would hold on to that lead to win the set and match 15-10.
Pool B was topped by France as they defeated their three opponents by a combined set total of 9-1. The only set lost was to Russia. Russia was able to qualify to the semi-finals as the second best teams with 3-0 wins over Bulgaria and Finland.
Germany was able to win the first set against Russia in the semi-final, in a closely fought set 33-31. Russia would however swing the match in its favour as they went to win the next three sets to qualify to the finals. While France would qualify to the finals in a 3-0 win, but the sets, especially the first two were quite close as Poland took France almost as far as possible in a three game sweep.
In the final France was able to dominate the first set, winning 25-14. Russia would recover and maintain just enough energy to finish ahead of France over the next three sets to win the tournament and Olympic quota via a score of 3-1. Poland won the bronze medal by forcing a fifth set against Germany and then winning it 16-14.
Like the women this will be the Russian men’s team’s sixth Olympics as an independent nation and its 13th overall, missing only the boycotted 1984 Olympics. Both France and Poland will get a second chance to qualify to the Olympics at the World Qualification Tournament to be held later this year.
- CEV. 2016 European Olympic Qualification – Men Results. Access on January 10 2016.