With summaryThe Dutch volleyball men were unable to make a splash at the European Volleyball Championship. In the lion’s den, after a thrilling five-set match, Italy, the European and world champion, lost. National coach Roberto Piazza’s team failed to qualify for the semi-finals for the first time since 1997: 25-19, 17-25, 16-25, 25-23, 15-12.
That year, the Netherlands became European champions, after which fifth place became the best result for a long time. In this tournament, the volleyball men have already beaten Montenegro, Czech Republic, Denmark and North Macedonia in recent weeks, while also losing once to Poland. In the packed volleyball hall in Bari, host team Italy, No. 3 in the world rankings, were the next challenger for the Netherlands, themselves No. 10.
Namir Abdel Aziz was the star of the Dutch team, who started the match excellently and won the first set convincingly. Italy recovered convincingly in front of its home crowd and defeated the Dutch volleyball players in the second and third sets. The Dutch looked like they were headed for defeat in four sets, but thanks to a run of five straight points from Abdelaziz, they still managed to win the fifth set.
Here too it was an equal battle between Holland and Italy. However, the defending champions in white were the first to make a gap and won 11-8. The Netherlands was unable to overcome this deficit in the race to 15 points.
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