The Greek men’s national volleyball came mighty close to snatching a spot in the Final-Four of the World League’s third division, but eventually succumbed to China in front of some 4,000 fans at the Nick Galis Hall in Thessaloniki on Sunday night.
Trailing the Chinese by two points at the group’s table and having beaten Mexico 3-0 on Friday and Slovakia 3-2 on Saturday, the players of coach Sotiris Drikos needed victory by 3-1 or 3-0 against group leader China.
The Greeks took the first set, the Chinese the second, and one of the pool’s most spectacular sets followed, with neither team managing to win it until the mid-30s. Greece had two set-points, but missed them both through serve errors, with China eventually silencing the home crowd winning the third set 34-32 and clinching the all-important ticket to the Final Four. China also won this game 3-2.
Despite Greece’s failure to advance to the semifinals that will take place in Slovakia, the national team has recorded plenty of experiences and quality time as a team on its return to the global stage after a decade. It has also earned itself many fans who attended its games or watched them from television through its passion and resilience.
Greece will also enter the European League this summer.