Bologna, Italy, September 22, 2018 - The Red Dragons from Belgium took an all-important 3-0 win in Pool F on Saturday, being better than the Australian team and coming back in the first two sets after being down in the score. Sam Deroo (23 points) and Igor Grobelny (18 points) showed great skills and leadership spirit, while for the Australians, who eventually could not take their opportunities, captain Paul Carroll (16 points) was the most prolific player.
Andrea Anastasi, head coach of Belgium: “I am happy because my players showed fighting spirit. This is what we were lacking in the previous matches, but we are not so experienced yet. Coming back in the first two sets and winning means that my players can cope with the pressure. We made a good tournament. It will be a big honour for us playing tomorrow against Brazil – I do not know how many medals they have, 100, maybe? They are better than us, for sure, but we will try to give our best. The atmosphere in PalaDozza is just amazing and I am enjoying every single moment of this tournament. Big thanks to all the fans.”
Sam Deroo, captain of Belgium: “It actually had a good effect on us winning the first and second sets after a point-for-point game, because yesterday we couldn’t do so. We played good volleyball, but it was not enough and on the contrary, today we were lucky to win. We fought back and I am happy for showing this spirit. Australia played good in the first two sets, but we turned things in our favour. Tomorrow’s match vs. Brazil will be a very important one. We need to win in order to have a better ranking for the Olympics.”
Igor Grobelny, player of Belgium: “Our goal today was to not make any stupid mistakes as the ones that we made yesterday. We wanted to keep alive the good vibes and good energy in our team, to push it a little bit more. This is what we needed after yesterday’s loss to Slovenia. The match vs. Brazil will not be an easy one, but for us this match will be our big final. I played for a few years in Poland and the fans are a little bit similar to the ones in Bologna. It is amazing receiving this support and it motivates us to better ourselves.”
Mark Lebedew, head coach of Australia: “Yesterday’s game vs. Brazil was really disappointing for us, because we had our chances. We were very close to taking two sets, but we missed something in the end. Today we played better, mentally strong as well. We had two set points, but Belgium are better than us – they have a couple of really good players. We will keep on working on the small details. I want to thank to everybody in the sports hall – I feel amazing seeing all the people, even cheering for us, it is great.”
Paul Carroll, captain of Australia: “It is disappointing losing. We should have won the first two sets, but they made some great defence plays. We have to pick ourselves up and play good against Slovenia tomorrow. Bologna is being just incredible – Italy are not playing here, but the Italians are here to watch volleyball. Our players on the bench cheered the fans and we felt their support too. Because of that we want to win tomorrow – we want to say goodbye to the Italian fans with a victory for them.”