Undefeated teams set for 2023 European Championship finals contention

Bosnia and Herzegovina and Germany have rocketed into the men’s final contention on the back of a seven-match winning streak, while Italy and Slovenia cruised to the women’s finals with six wins in a row at the 2023 Sitting Volleyball European Championships at Palamare Valter Vicentini on Saturday.

Across those six days, all four teams were ranked as the best sides in the competition and will play their final match on Sunday to determine which team will take the men’s and women’s continental titles and the two Paris 2024 spots.

In the men’s tournament, Bosnia and Herzegovina are vying for their 11th continental title and Germany will challenge them for gold on Sunday at 17:30 local time.

The Bosnians, led by Safet Alibasic and Stevan Crnobrnja, defeated Ukraine 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-19). Alibasic and Crnobrnja scored 17 and 15 points, respectively.

The two Bosnian top scorers combined for nine of the 14 total block output of the team, putting a clamp on the offence of Ukrainian top scorer Denys Bytchenko, who only made 10 in the match.

Germany celebrate victory over Poland in the Men’s Euro semifinals © ParaVolley Europe

Germany’s performance from the attack and service lines proved worthy of a 3-0 (25-12, 25-14, 25-17) victory over Poland in the second semifinal, outscoring their rivals with 38-18 attacks and 11-2 service winners.

Heiko Wiesenthal and Dominik Albrecht scored 14 and 12 points, respectively, and accounted for nine of their 11 aces in the match. Marcin Polak made nine points for Poland.

The bronze medal game between Ukraine and Poland is scheduled at 10:00.

Meanwhile, the women’s final between Italy and Slovenia will be played 15:00 before the men’s final.

Italy and Slovenia faced their toughest tests in the semifinals, with the former dropping two sets for the first time in the tournament and the latter dropping a set before they could close their respective matches.

Italy’s Francesca Bosio hits down the line against Ukraine in the Women’s Euro semifinals © ParaVolley Europe

Italy rallied from two sets down to overcome Ukraine’s tough challenge 3-2 (22-25, 17-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-13). The home team were led by Francesca Bosio and Eva Ceccatelli, who had 18 and 11 points, respectively.

The Ukrainians had better scoring performances with three players scoring in double figures – Oleksandra Lykhodid had 21, Liudmyla Lozko and Anastasiia Vladychynska contributed 14 and 10, respectively.

The Ukrainians fired on all cylinders, outscoring their opponents on all fronts, but in the end, it was the finer details on defence and teamwork that gave the hosts the edge to stage their comeback.

Slovenian players jubilant in their 3-1 win over Germany in the Women’s Euro semifinals © ParaVolley Europe

Slovenia broke loose against Germany in the third set after splitting victories in the first two sets. Klara Vrabic, Valentyna Brik and Lena Gabrscek combined for 61 points to outscore the entire German lineup.

Vrabic topped all scorers with 28 points, while none of the German players hit the 10-point mark as Daniela Cierpka and Ronja Schmolders finished the match with nine points apiece.

The women’s bronze medal match between Ukraine and Germany is scheduled at 12:00.

Photos: © ParaVolley Europe