Turkey have made it through to the quarter-finals of the Women’s European Volleyball Championships following a hard-fought victory over Croatia in Ankara on Sunday.
The national team scored a thrilling 3-2 win in a rollercoaster ride that lasted for more than two hours in front of 8,000 flag-waving spectators.
Turkey won the first set of the encounter 26-24. Croatia fought back, claiming the next two sets 25-18 and 33-31. The Turks levelled the match by winning the final set 25-22 to send the game to a tiebreak, which they eventually edged 16-14.
The game’s top scorer was Croatia’s Samanta Fabris, who chalked up 39 points, while Turkey’s best performer was Eda Erdem on 26.
“The ‘Sultans of the Net’ were far from their best, and only captain Eda Erdem Dündar and outside hitter Fatma Yıldırım – who stepped in at the beginning of the fourth set – could help the hosts change the course of the game,” an official match report by CEV, volleyball’s governing body in Europe, said.
Turkey made it into the last 16 of EuroVolley 2019 after finishing second behind titleholders Serbia in the group stage of the tournament, after being beaten 3-1 by them. The Turks recorded 3-0 wins against Greece and France, and also defeated Bulgaria 3-1 and Finland 3-2 in their Pool A games to progress in the tournament.
On Wednesday evening they will take on the highly fancied Netherlands, who claimed their sixth straight 3-0 victory in the competition. Yet to lose a set at the Championship, the Dutch easily brushed aside a Greek side competing on the European stage for the first time since 2001.
Turkey take on the Netherlands in the quarter-finals, to be played in Ankara on Wednesday 4 Sept.
Wednesday’s quarter-final match in Ankara will start at 7.30pm local time. The Turkish capital will also play host to the semi-finals on Saturday, 7 September, and the gold and bronze medal matches the following day.
Four countries – Turkey, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia – are co-hosting EuroVolley 2019, and a total of 24 teams are competing at the tournament, which started on 23 August and concludes on 8 September.
The first Women’s European Volleyball Championships was held in 1949 in the former Czechoslovakia and won by the Soviet Union.
Turkey’s best performance came in 2003 when, as the host nation, they finished runners-up to Poland. Turkey finished third in 2011 and 2017, when the tournament was last held.
Main photo top, Turkey Women’s Volleyball team after beating Croatia in last 16 of the European Volleyball Championships, Ankara, 01 Sep. 2019. Photo © Twitter/Türkiye Voleybol Fed