Dubai, United Arab Emirates, August 30, 2015 – Turkey defeated Cuba in straight sets in the first semifinal game of the FIVB Men’s U23 World Championship at Al Nasr Club, on Sunday. Turkey coach Emanuele Zanini stressed that this is a historical success for Turkish volleyball.
Turkey coach Emanuele Zanini:
It is the first time we play this kind of semifinal and I am very proud of our achievement. We will celebrate for one hour and then start to think for the final game. We should be optimistic but at the same time we should be careful and work hard. I think this result is a historical success for the whole Turkish volleyball because it is our first time reaching this level, in this kind of a championship in men's. We are a real team now, in the full meaning of the word. Against Russia, we had up and downs but today, except half of the third set, we almost never had downs. It does not matter whoever we are going to play, tomorrow’s final game will be even harder. We have to play with our 100%.
Turkey captain Burak Gungor:
At the beginning of the tournament, I said we will think step by step and this way, we reached the final. We are very happy and waiting for tomorrow's match. We will do our best. We had a huge pressure during the match because of the thought that we are playing the semifinal. It was a good experience for us facing Cuba because they are one of the best teams ever and i appreciate their hard work.
Cuba coach Rodolfo Luis Sanchez:
Our team went out to play with too much pressure. If Turkey's coach himself admitted to being under tremendous pressure, imagine how it was for us; we were under even more pressure, one of the reasons being that we only had six players. The rest were too young and inexperienced to play against such a good level. Nonetheless, the match against Turkey was a great one. I think that this time, we played against a stronger opponent than we can handle. It is true that we did not play well enough in the first two sets. In the third set, however, we had nothing to lose and gave our all to do but we could not manage to make a comeback.