Trieste, Italy, October 5, 2014 - In the last match of the 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championship in Trieste, in front of 2.500 spectators at PalaTrieste, Belgium won comfortably 3-1 (25-12, 25-23, 23-25, 25-18) over Croatia as both sides concluded their participation in the Women’s World Champs on Sunday.
• Croatia and Belgium had never played each other before at the World Championships. It was also their first ever meeting at a major tournament.
• Croatia lost their last three World Championship matches. They equalled their longest ever run of losing three matches in a row set in the first round in 2010.
• Croatia could not claim their fifth win at the 2014 World Championship. This would have been an outright record for them, outperforming their four-win effort from 1998.
• It was the first Belgium victory of the second tournament, after losing three matches. Still, in the 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championship they have four wins, three more than in their previous appearance (1978).
Croatia finished the second round of the competition with a 2-5 win-loss and five points while Belgium closed at 2-5 and seven points.
Belgian Lise Van Hecke topped the winners’ scoreboard with 21 points, followed by Croatian Samanta Fabris with 14 points. Other four Belgian players reached double digits and another two from Croatia.
From the beginning of the last match of the second round in Trieste, both teams exchanged points before Croatia took a short lead at 7-4. Belgium stayed completely focused and, at the first technical timeout, they jumped into an 8-7 lead. Then two Angie Bland aces stormed over the net, putting pressure on Croatia, 11-8. Confusion reigned on the Croatian court and the scoreboard quickly showed 15-10 for Belgium. Still no reaction from Croatia, Belgium scored six straight points and led 19-10. The Croatians, experiencing problems with their reception, could not catch up. The set finished 25-12 in Belgium’s favor.
Nothing seemed to change at the start of the second set. Croatia were still unorganized and Belgium was 5-3 ahead. The first part of the second set was dominated by many significant mistakes on both sides, especially in attack.
Just when Croatia looked like getting some balance back into the game, an individual error swiped away their momentum. However, a while later Croatia came back strongly - led by Senna Usic Jogunica – to draw level at 18-18. Nevertheless, the Yellow Tigers kept calm in the decisive moments of the set and ended the set 25-23 in their favor.
It was a challenge for the Croatians to get back into the match. In the third set both teams could not take a clear lead. Belgium went 7-6 ahead but Croatia stayed close at the first technical timeout – before, in the second one - they managed to take advantage by one point. Neither team was giving in. The match continued on a point-by-point basis until 21-all. A tremendous Senna spike relieved Croatia from the Belgium pressure and they ran toward victory 25-23. Croatia, as usual, showed that they enjoy long competitive matches.
Belgium took an early lead 7-2 in the fourth set. It was taking on a similar pattern to the first where Croatia were dominated. The Vercesi squad quickly trailed 6-11. Top scorer Van Hecke shot a kill down the sideline and the scoreboard showed 16-11 at the second technical break. Croatia gathered a few points and narrowed the gap to 18-15. However, it was a little too late. Belgium never looked back and easily gained the first victory in the second round in this Championship. They clinched the set 25-18 and the match 3-1.