Lausanne, Switzerland, July 21, 2017 - Germany dealt Estonia their first defeat in the tournament leaving Belgium the only undefeated team after three legs, but the point they dropped in their 3-2 (25-21, 25-22, 21-25, 23-25, 15-11) win could prove the final blow in their aspirations for a ticket to the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship, as Day 3 wrapped up of the last European qualification tournament.
One European last ticket to the FIVB flagship competition remains up for grabs from the six-team single round-robin pool in Kortraijk, with hosts Belgium in the lead at 3-0 (and 9 points) followed at 2-1 each by Estonia (7 points) and Germany (5 points). But Belgium still have to face Germany on Saturday and Estonia on the closing day Sunday.
Another six European teams advanced last month to the World Championship which will be jointly hosted by Italy and Bulgaria next year.
Germany blew a two-set lead as Estonia brought on Renee Teppan and Kristo Kollo off the bench and rallied to force a tie-break, but the 2014 World Championship silver medallists restricted their errors in the fifth set to just three to claim the win.
Simon Hirsch with 24 points and Christian Fromm with 20 (including 18/30 for 60% in attacking) led Germany on the scoring front. Robert Taht was Estonia's best scorer on 20. Germany got their receiving in order and were just that little bit more efficient on the net.
Earlier in the day, Belgium had relied on Sam Deroo's 21 points and a blocking party of 12 stuffs to 2 in addition to better control of the ball in reception to deal with Spain.Ruben van Hirtum of Belgium gets past the block of Spain's Miguel Fornes and Augusto Colito Friday in Kortrijk.
Slovakia bagged their first win of the tournament, sweeping winless Belarus 3-0 (25-21, 26-24, 25-21) in the other match of the day in Kortrijk. Tomas Krisko was top scorer of the game with 16 points as Slovakia proved more efficient in attacking.Slovakia's Peter Ondrovic attacks before the block of Belarus' Siarhei Bursel Friday in Kortrijk.
Competition in Kortrijk continues on Saturday, including the crucial match between Belgium and Germany at 20:10 local time (18:10 GMT).
Full reports, statistics and pictures on the European Volleyball Confederation website
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Italy and Bulgaria as hosts and Poland as defending champions have qualified directly to the World Championship. They have been joined by France, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Russia, Serbia and Finland who advanced through Round 2 of the European qualifers last month, plus Japan and Australia who qualified last week through Pool B of the Asian qualifiers.
Another 13 places remain up for grabs, with the next scheduled qualifying event being the South American Championship, 5-12 August in Santiago, which gives one ticket to Italy/Bulgaria.