The first-round qualifier for the 2018 FIVB Men’s World Championship – which counts also as qualifying stage for the 2017 Small Countries Division European Championship – continued on Saturday in Reykjavik with Scotland routing Andorra in three straight sets in the opening match where both teams were chasing their first victory in the competition. Later in the evening pre-favourites Cyprus stunned Iceland cruising to a 3-1 win to assert their leadership in the pool.
Andorra vs. Scotland 0-3 (17-25, 19-25, 21-25)
The first match contested on Saturday in Reykjavik was between Andorra and Scotland, and both teams entered it vying for their first victory in the competition. The match eventually ended in a 3-0 victory for the Scots.
The Scottish team looked a bit down after a disappointing loss at the hands of Iceland on Friday night, which came at the end of a long five-set match. The team from Andorra, on the other hand, looked much better in today’s match than against Cyprus on Friday, but it wasn’t enough to pull out a win this time either.
Scotland delivered a very strong performance in the first set and had a comfortable lead from the beginning to the end. The team from Andorra switched gears in the second set and made life harder for the Scots, leading 8-4 at the first technical time-out. The Scottish team, however, came back strong, caught up and eventually won the set. The third set was even to begin with before Scotland sailed away to finish the match off with a fairly comfortable 3-0 win.
Jamie McHardy scored 14 points for Scotland; Cristian Salvador was the top scorer for Andorra with 19 points in their losing effort.
Asked about the Scottish team’s chances against Cyprus on Sunday, coach Thomas Dowens said he hopes for a better performance from his guys. “We have played them many times before and will have a go at them,” he commented.
Cyprus vs. Iceland 3-1 (25-14, 20-25, 25-16, 25-11)
Cyprus claimed a 3-1 victory over hosts Iceland in the second and last match of the day. The Icelandic team didn’t really manage to put on a fight in the first set where Cyprus kept the lead from the beginning to the end. The Icelandic Vikings woke up in the second set with some impressive playing and finished the set convincingly in their favour (25-20). The third set was even until the score stood at 10-10, after that Cyprus changed gear and left Iceland in the dust. Iceland kind of collapsed in the fourth set and everything went just easy for Cyprus that finished it all off with a landslide 25-11 win.
Vladimir Knezevic was the top scorer for Cyprus with 18 points; Hafsteinn Valdimarsson scored 11 points for Iceland in their losing effort.
After the match Rogerio Ponticelli, coach of the Icelandic team, said that the team was not able to adjust to Cyprus’ playing style. Therefore, the block and defence didn’t do their job.
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