Romania stunned Olympic champion France 3-1 on Monday, securing a place in the Round of 16 of the 2023 Men’s European Volleyball Championship (EuroVolley).
Although France had already secured their spot in the last 16 and rested key players, the outcome is still seen as sensational. The victory brought Romania to three wins after completing their five matches in the six-team Group D, held in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Romania clinched the first set 25-23 before France bounced back to take the next set 25-16. Romania’s outside spiker, Adrian Aciobanitei, then dominated on offense, particularly in the fourth set, guiding his team to win 25-18 and 25-21.
Aciobanitei contributed 20 points, with teammate Alexandru Rata adding 12. Robert Calin finished with 11 points, including five block points. Stephen Boyer was France’s top scorer with 19 points.
Later that evening, Portugal also clinched a spot in the round of 16 after a thrilling 3-2 (26-24, 21-25, 15-25, 28-26, 15-13) win over Türkiye. The match was decided by a winning spike from Alexandre Ferreira in the fifth set.
Ferreira tallied a team-high 24 points, while Lourenco Martins added 23. Despite an impressive game-high of 33 points from Yigit Gulmezoglu, including five aces, it wasn’t enough for Türkiye.
The final two matches in Group D are scheduled for Friday. Israel will face Türkiye, with the victor advancing to the last 16. Meanwhile, Greece, having lost their chance to advance, will play against France.
The top four teams from Group D will be joined by 12 teams from the other three groups, competing in Italy, Bulgaria, and North Macedonia. ■