Belarus and Greece in the quarter-finalPhoto: Elena ELISEEVA
Great disappointment for young Croatian team
What a conclusion of matters in the Group D in the Men’s Teams Event at the 2015 LIEBHERR ITTF European Championships in Ekaterinbourg. Defeat for Greece at the hands of Belarus, a place in the last eight appeared a forlorn hope but then there was salvation, the Czech Republic upset the odds by beating fourth seeds, Croatia; thus Belarus and Greece each finished the group with two wins apiece, for Croatia and the Czech Republic it was one each.
Thus Belarus followed by Greece advanced to the quarter-finals.
Belarus beat Czech Republic yesterday in close five matches encounter, but concluded the day with defeat. Croatia’s young team needed four matches to succeed against the favorite. Both Filip ZELJKO and Andrej GACINA accounted for Vladimir SAMSONOV.
Today was the different story. SAMSONOV was stretched to full distance against Konstantinos PAPAGEORGIU, but at the end he gave Belarus dream start. Kalinikos KREANGA was the only player to score, against Evgueni CHTCHETININE, but Gionis PANAGIOTIS suffered against Pavel PLATONOV and Vladimir SAMSONOV.
“Yesterday was very hard day for me. I lost two matches. It was difficult to me to settle into the game against young Filip ZELJKO. I felt tired and sleepy due the time difference. Today it was much better. I struggled a little in the opening match, but certainly I had no problem with GIONIS defensive skills in second one. I cannot complain, at the beginning I had lot opportunities to practice with the players with such skills,” explained SAMSONOV.
Croatia was so close to the great success for rejuvenated team. Andrej GACINA proved his rankings and quality, but today Filip ZELJKO and Tomislav PUCAR could not follow.
“We came here with new team and we did not expect too much. However, after yesterday’s victory over Belarus in such superb style we realized how close to the quarters we are. Now I feel much worst knowing that our main chance slipped away in the match against Greece. They won 3:2, but if it had finished other way …”said coach Croatian team Zvonko KORENIC.