19 May 2024

Batrane says England 'disappointed' to miss out on final at Nations Cup prelims

Batrane says England 'disappointed' to miss out on final at Nations Cup prelims

England men’s hopes of progression to the final stages of the Nation Cup in Latvia in June were ended by hosts Germany in the semi-final of their Pool C grouping in Hamburg.

Representing by Freddie Bialokoz and Issa Batrane and Bello brothers Javier and Joaquin, both pairs put a good fight against the group favourites but fell short in the final reckoning. 

Playing at the Active City Arena, Heliigengeistfeld, Bialokoz and Batrane were outgunned in the first set of the firs tmatch to lose it 21-14, but things were much closer in the second before opponents Pfretzschner and Winter came through to take it 21-19. 

The Bellos lost the opening set against Ehlers and Wicker 21-16, but battled back superbly to clinch the second 21-19. 

However, the home players always had the edge in the decisive tie break, winning it 15-10. 

Earlier in the day, England had set up a shot against Germany by beating Moldova in both their matches. 

First Bialokoz and Batrane stormed to a convincing win over Voleanin and Plamadeala 21-13, 21-9. 

Then the Bello twins fought back from a slow start to power to a 21-16-21-17 success over Dobcis and Korsakov. 

Day one had produced mix results for the England team as they beat Slovenia – who will contest the final against Germany – by virtue of a 15-12 golden set win for the Bellos against Zemljak and J. Pokersnik. 

They had also beaten Sen and D. Pokersnik 21-15, 21-14 in their earlier match while Bialokoz and Batrane lost out to Zemljak and J. Pokersnik 21-17, 21-17. 

But things did not go according to plan against Estonia who won both matches 2-1 via the deciding tie break. 

It was agony for Bialokoz and Batrane, who lost 19-17 in the third, having bounced back from losing the opening set 21-14 to Piik and Korotkov to win the second by the same score. 

The Bellos started well and edged the first set 21-19, but struggled to keep it going and went down in the second and third 21-16, 15-5. 

Batrane said after the semi-finals: “As a team we are disappointed not to have made the final and we are disappointed that we didn’t take advantage of the draw that could have put us up against Germany in the final, rather than the semi-final. 

“There was some good volleyball from both teams throughout and it got better as the tournament went on, but we are just disappointed that our qualification bid is coming to an end and we are just looking to future competitions now.” 

Javier Bello added: “We put up a great fight against some top teams, and we are proud of our efforts. We would’ve loved to play in the final in Latvia, but sadly it wasn’t to be this time.

We must focus on our last opportunity to qualify to the Olympics via ranking points, starting this week in Espinho (at the BPT Elite 16 event)!”

Pics by Conny Kurth, CEV.