One of Bulgaria's best players against Belgium - Hristina Ruseva
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 26, 2017 – With one day to go at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship CEV Qualifiers in Rotterdam, the last two European tickets for Japan 2018 have been booked! Bulgaria and hosts the Netherlands both extended their winning streaks into the fourth competition day on Saturday and are now untouchable in the top two spots in the standings.
It is the third and final round of European qualifications for the 2018 edition of the Women’s World Championship and runs from August 22 through 27 at the Topsport Centrum in Rotterdam.
The teams play each other once in a round-robin format with the winners and the runners-up qualifying for Japan 2018. Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Italy, Azerbaijan and Germany have already booked their places at the World Championship, which runs from September 29 through October 20, 2018.
After a day off on Friday, the Dutch team opened for business on Saturday afternoon, defeating Slovenia in the first match of the day. Any win would have secured the hosts the advancement, but they went for a smashing 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-16) shutout to please the home crowd with a speedy resolution.
With 12 points each, Celeste Plak (including five aces) and Nika Daalderop were the best scorers of the match, while none of Slovenia’s players reached double digits.
Bulgaria followed suit soon after with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-19) straight-setter against their closest rivals Belgium. A win would have placed the Belgians well in contention for a spot at the World Championship, but the southern European side left them no chance and booked their own ticket to Japan in a very convincing manner.
Elitsa Vasileva was on fire, contributing 17 points to Bulgaria’s victory. Her teammate Hristina Ruseva took the chance to shine in blocking with as many as seven kills. Britt Herbots was Belgium’s most prolific player with 16 points.
In the last match on the penultimate competition day - a clash between two teams that had not scored any wins yet - the Czech Republic battled their way to a 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 26-24, 16-25, 15-11) victory over Greece, with Aneta Havlickova blasting 25 points for the winners, second only to Greece’s Anthi Vasilantonaki with 30.
Sunday’s programme starts with a direct duel between the Netherlands and Bulgaria for the top of the final standings, followed by matches between Greece and Belgium and between Slovenia and the Czech Republic.
For more details on this qualification tournament, including results, statistics and photos, visit the CEV’s official website.