SPORTS

Volleyball team lands easy Euro 2009 group

The national volleyball team has been lucky to be drawn into one of the weakest groups in next year’s European Championship finals in Turkey. Greece was drawn on Thursday in Group C and will face European champions Spain, Slovenia and Slovakia in the first round of the tournament. The draw in Izmir was seen considered to be a good one because the other groups are much more balanced, while group C has a clear favorite and two other teams on a similar level as Greece. This group’s games will be held in Istanbul. The tournament begins on September 4 and concludes 10 days later. Hellenic Volleyball Federation president Stelios Prosalikas expressed his satisfaction with the draw’s outcome, stressing that the national team can reach the second round. «We must qualify with the best possible record in points and sets because in the second group stage we will face Poland, France and either Germany or Turkey and things will not be easy,» said the recently elected head of the federation. «Since Greece’s group will be in Istanbul, it will be easier for Greek fans to follow the national team and combine a trip to the city with the games,» he added. League begins today The new season of the A1 division begins today, featuring the big derby between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos. Both clubs were significantly reinforced during the summer as they bid to wrest the title from champion Iraklis. The other ties are Apollon Kalamarias vs PAOK, Ethnikos Alexandroupolis vs EA Patras, Milon vs Kifissia, Lamia vs Phinikas Syrou and Aris vs Iraklis, with the latter game scheduled for tomorrow.