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Portugal faces Croatia in the first of two finals

Despite some setbacks, such as the injuries that have not yet been totally overcome by the brothers Alexandre and Marco Ferreira, the coach’s confidence and willingness to start the year to win are a great success, continuing the successes achieved in 2018 in the next two games, with the Croats and Albania.

Carlos Prata, head of national technical volleyball team, said today that he expects a “balanced game” with Croatia in Gondomar in the first of two finals to reach the final of the European Championship2019.

“I think it will be a balanced game in which the national team will have to overcome to reach its goal, which is the presence in the final phase of the 2019 European Championship,” said Carlos Prata, in statements to the communication channels of the Portuguese Federation of Volleyball.

Despite some setbacks, such as the injuries that have not yet been totally overcome by the brothers Alexandre and Marco Ferreira, the coach’s confidence and willingness to start the year to win are a great success, continuing the successes achieved in 2018 in the next two games, with the Croats and Albania.

“It is a difficult team, very high and that will be an opponent before which Portugal will have to do its best, conditioning their strengths, through a good relationship between the service and the defense block,” explained Carlos Prata.

The effectiveness of the attack, from the reception of the opposing service, still according to the coach, will have to be the strong point of Portugal, who can already ensure on Sunday the presence in the final phase of the European2019 if Austria loses on Saturday with Albania.

Croatia, according to Carlos Prata, has some experienced players, such as the main distributor, Tsimafei Zhukouski, who plays in Italy, and his game is mainly made by the opposite Leo Andric and his two zone 4, with a highlight for Danijel Galic.

“It’s not a fast game, especially in the ball for its opposite, but in its main attacker of zone 4 the tendency is already a very fast and open ball, especially in the entrance of the network,” said the coach.

In relation to the service, in suspension, his two main attackers – Andric and Galic – put the most pressure on the opposing reception, the rest serve in swallow, with a tense and attacking service, taking advantage of his stature.

Portugal, who beat Croatia 3-0 in the 25-18, 25-22 and 25-18 semi-finals, lead Group D in the European qualifying round in 1919 with nine points, followed by Austria (second) with seven, and Albania (third) with five. Croatia is last ranked with three points.

The Portuguese team ‘closes’ the qualification in Albania on January 9 in a match that could be decisive if Austria, who leaves in Croatia, win on Saturday.

The final phase of the European Championship, to be held between September 12 and 29, takes place in four countries simultaneously: France, Slovenia, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

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