Russia is the Olympic runner-up champion, but Russia arrived at the European Championship without both opposite and will hardly be able to win a medal. One team is Russia with Maksim Mikhaylov, one of the world's biggest stars of today, and Viktor Poletajev, and completely different without them.
It was also seen against the Netherlands ... Turkey prepared a sensation, beating the Olympic runner-up at the start of the European Championship in Tampere. However, as the matches go on, it is increasingly obvious that it will not be a first-class sensation.
The Netherlands did not repeat the feat of Turkey, although they had everything drawn. They knew how to fight against the Russians, Turkey lit their way, and they could not triumph. But they won a point - 3: 2 (25:13, 19:25, 25:21, 21:25, 15:13).
The quality of the Russian national team is halved by the absence of Mikhaylov and Poletahev, they are no longer a clear favorite even against the Netherlands, which is not the creme del la creme of European volleyball. Luck in the misfortune for Russia is that it has Egor Kliuka.
The receiver of the service is forced to play in the position of opposite in the absence of the mentioned two, and he manages quite well in that role.
He showed that in the duel of the second round of the group phase.
Egor Kliuka, along with Dmitry Volkov, was the most deserving of the triumph in the dramatic finale. The match went to the fifth set, and Kliuka and Volkov broke the "Dutch wall" on the net. Dmitry Volkov scored 21 points, Egor Kliuka one less.
The two of them, as well as Ivan Iakovlev, caused big problems. He contributed to the victory with 14 points - he won as many as seven from the block. He was impassable on the net for almost everyone in the Dutch team. The exception was Nimir Abdel-Aziz.
Absolutely no one had a solution for him. The Russians let him do his job and decided to neutralize the rest of the team. Nimir Abdel-Aziz broke through from all positions, the match ended with 32 points, but the Netherlands lost the others by constantly forcing the game on Abdel-Aziz.
Still, it is to be hoped that Russia will improve its form and show that they are still one of the best teams. They have a good team, a lot of promising players, but it is necessary for the team spirit to grow and to play the way we are used to.
They already have a match against Finland in which they will be the favorites, but this time they will have to justify it on the field