Our men’s team for the second consecutive continental championship was left without awards. In the quarterfinals of the current European Championship-2021, the Russians in Gdansk, Poland, were defeated by the owners of the site in the presence of almost nine thousand fans – 0: 3 (14:26, 24:26, 19:25).
The starting set by the silver medalists of the Tokyo Olympics was lost unconditionally. In the opening, after another effective attack by naturalized Cuban Wilfredo Leon, who had previously played for Zenit-Kazan for a long time, the Poles took the lead with a difference of seven points – 12: 5. Our head coach, Finn Tuomas Sammelvuo, tried to somehow turn the tide, released both Fedor Voronkov and the diagonal striker Maksim Zhigalov, who drove up to the championship instead of the injured Kirill Klets, but in vain.
There was a chance to “catch” in the second set, but it was missed. Pavel Pankov made a mistake on the serve, Yegor Klyuk got out of the way when attacking. And in the next, third game, the Russians immediately began to lag significantly behind – 3: 7. At one point, the gap was reduced to a couple of points, but the Poles were already unstoppable.
Olympic champions Tokyo, the French were also embarrassed at Euro 2021: they lost to the Czech Republic in three sets in the 1/8 finals
– We somehow could not immediately catch our playing rhythm, we admitted marriage in serving and receiving the ball, – Sammelvuo complained at the press conference. – In the second game, we added power on the block, added in defensive actions, they deservedly got a chance to equalize the total score, but they did not use it. I made substitutions, tried to somehow influence the game. Alas, Poland turned out to be stronger than us, first of all, in the attack. This is a team of strong gamers – Wilfredo Leon and Bartosz Kurek.
The Russian national team at the championship of the Old World has become hostage to the absurdities of the current international calendar. They are forced, happened due to a pandemic. For the first time, the European Championship followed the Summer Games. It was not possible to reach the peak of the form a second time in a short period. The French victors in Tokyo also suffered. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, losing to the Czech Republic in the 1/8 finals – 0: 3.