Austria's men face Italy in the semifinals

05.08.2022 - Vienna, Austria

After incredibly exciting rallies, which took the breath away of the packed fans in the stadium, our red-white-red men managed to break through into the semi-finals.

The Austrian men had to prove themselves against the Poles in the quarterfinals. In the first match Ermacora/Pristauz came into action, who had to defend against Kantor/Rudol. Top motivated and hungry for victory, Ermacora showed his strength in blocking already in the first minutes of the match of the first set, which helped the Austrians to a 4-point lead at 9:5. Timeout for Poland. Technical timeout at 13:8 for Austria. Our men continued to have the lead and showed themselves unimpressed by the attacks of the Poles. At 18:16, the Austrians took a well-deserved breather despite their lead. At top speed, they managed to reach set point at 20:16 thanks to another strong block by Ermacora, which succeeded right away and thus the hosts decided the first set in their favor.

Temperatures of 36 degrees - not to mention the sand temperature - and the sold-out and packed stadium heated up the atmosphere in the Red Bull Beach Arena properly and provided the necessary support for the Austrian boys. Ermacora once again shone with his killer blocks and Pristauz showed impeccable precision in his attacks and defense. The Poles allowed themselves a break at a four-point deficit at 7:3. One riveting rally after another occurred on center court and with unassailable confidence Ermacora/Pristauz rushed past their opponents. Score 16:5 when Poland allowed themselves a timeout. Seems like the Poles changed their tactics, because in no time at all they were able to make up five points and close the gap to 17:10. Time out for the Austrian boys. Once again, they managed to come back into the match stronger after that and right away Pristauz's service worked on match point, which led to the victory of the second set with 21:11.

"Today we got into the game well from the start and we were able to use our strengths flawlessly," said Martin Ermacora, visibly relieved after the match win.

Poland's top man Bartosz Losiak, who once played against Doppler/Horst at the 2017 World Championships and was defeated then, met Austria's No. 1 Seidl/Waller with his team partner Michal Bryl in the second match. Now it was time for our men to keep their nerves and fight! Our Austrians managed a sovereign start into the first set and took the lead. Poland took a time-out at 6:2 for Austria and was able to take two points immediately afterwards. Nevertheless, our number 1 kept the lead thanks to offensive attacks. Technical timeout at 12:9, Poland's men came back stronger and made up two points with an ace service and a strong attacking shot. This again challenged the Austrians' fighting spirit, but the Poles made it look like they were catching up. Only one point separated the two teams at 16:15, this became too tricky for the Austrians, wanted to gather forces and go into timeout. With success: Waller emerges as a service winner and makes the next point. It remained exciting: point for point, the two teams fought back in alternating order. The first set point at 20:18 was denied to the Austrians by a service into the net by Waller. The fans were raging with euphoria and excitement! Score 21: 21, it went into overtime, the two teams gave nothing to each other and delivered a heated, alternating points until the Poles at 24:23 and the winning 25th point objected to a block touch by Austria - with success. The Poles equalized, 24:24. An atmosphere that made one hold one's breath spread through the stadium. Then finally the Austrians managed to break through, a block by Seidl secured the set victory for the Austrians with 27:25.

Into the second set: Now it was all about everything! At first Losiak/Bryl showed their strong side. Waller was the man of the second set and paved the way for a tie at 6:6 with his strong shots. The two teams offered the spectators another exciting back and forth. Two strong blocks by Bryl helped the Poles to take the lead. Technical time-out at 12:9. Bryl took control of the game, brought two more strong attacks. Team Austria took a timeout at 14:10. Bryl clearly stood out as the head of the game and scored two more points. When all signs pointed to a third set at 17:12, our guys woke up and attacked their opponents with success. It was 17:14 for Poland when they called a timeout. Seidl/Waller also took advantage of this and caught up. The first set point for Poland came at 20:18, blocked by a block from Seidl. But Losiak managed the second one with a longline attack and the Poles won the second set 21:19.

Both teams showed willpower from the beginning to secure the third set. A match of the extra class was offered to the fully occupied stands in the stadium. At 5:2 for Poland, the red-white-red men demanded a video challenge for "ball in/out", without success. Equalization at 6:6, Seidl's impeccable block quota characterized the match. Our men allowed themselves a break at a 2-point deficit of 8:6 and came back stronger. They managed to equalize again at 10:10 and finally managed to take the lead. A "ball in/out" challenge was called by Losiak/Bryl, unsuccessfully. Hot for the win, Seidl/Waller secured the match point in a breathtaking rally with a block by Seidl and won the second match 16:14.

The Nations Score of our Austrians thus improved to 2:0 against Poland.

Austria's men are now in the semi-finals, where they will meet Italy. The match will be played on Saturday, 6.8.2022 at 7:30 p.m. (live on ORF Sport +).