The coaches of the four teams (from left to right): Zdenek Pommer, Hong Sunjin, Jacek Nawrocki, Felix Koslowski
Ostrava, Czech Republic, July 28, 2017 – On the eve of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix 2017 Group 2 finals, Ostrava, the third biggest city in the Czech Republic, is bracing itself for the two-day showdown that will determine the best of the best in the second tier of this global competition.
The teams of Korea
have earned the right to join hosts Czech Republic
into the semifinals scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon at the RT TORAX Arena, also known as Ostrava Poruba Winter Stadium. The final and the third place match are scheduled for Sunday. All four games will be streamed live on the FIVB YouTube video channel
Billboards all over Ostrava advertise the upcoming event
In the first semifinal Korea will face Germany at 16:10 local time. In the second, starting at 19:10, neighbours Czechia and Poland will lock horns for the remaining vacancy in Sunday’s final.
Korea and Germany made the finals as the top two teams in the Group 2 pool stage standings, each with an 8-1 win-loss record. The Asian squad topped the table with 25 points, while their European rivals collected 23. The two teams already met each other in what was their first match of this year’s campaign. On July 7, in Bulgaria, Korea achieved a 3-1 victory, which was their eighth total out of the eleven encounters with Germany in the history of the World Grand Prix.
Hong Sunjin, coach of Korea: “The three teams are really strong and playing well. All the matches are going to be difficult and interesting. Tomorrow we start against Germany, a team we already played earlier this year. We are practicing hard to prepare well for this game. After that we will start thinking about our next match on Sunday.”
Felix Koslowski, coach of Germany: “First of all, I would like to congratulate all three teams - Korea, Poland and the Czech Republic for qualifying to the final four. We will face some very strong teams, for sure among the best teams of Group 2. I expect a couple of hard matches. We start against Korea tomorrow. We know about their qualities and high- level game. We know how important their star player Yeon Koung Kim is for this team. We are preparing well and trying to stay concentrated in order to achieve a great result.”
Poland and the Czech Republic are entering the finals with seven victories out of nine matches each. The Poles have 21 points on their record. The Czechs accumulated 19. This will be only the second World Grand Prix encounter between the two neighbours. In June 2016, in Poland, the home team managed a 3-1 win. More recently, in May 2017, again in Poland, the Czechs delivered a 3-2 upset in a 2018 World Championship qualifier. Since Ostrava is only minutes away from the Polish border, many fans are expected to support both teams in this semifinal clash.
Zdenek Pommer, coach of Czech Republic: “We tried to do our best to prepare for this final stage of the competition. The entire World Grand Prix campaign, with tournaments in Peru, Puerto Rico and Canada, was demanding and difficult. It was the same for all teams though. Now we are playing at home and we will do our best to succeed in front of the home fans.”
Jacek Nawrocki, coach of Poland: “First of all, I have to mention we are very happy to be in the final four here, in the Czech Republic. The tournaments in Argentina, Korea and Poland showed that we have a strong well-playing team. However, this is a new tournament and we will start all over. We have a very difficult semifinal against the strong team of the Czech Republic. They beat us the last time we played, but it doesn’t matter. We will try to play the best we can to achieve success this time.”