Netherlands outlive Belgian comeback to claim epic win


Nimir Abdel-Aziz's aces carried the Netherlands to victory in set five

S-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, June 6, 2015 - The Maaspoort Sports and Events Centre in Den Bosch was the venue for a spectacular five set 3-2 (25-21, 25-18, 14-25, 22-25, 15-9) victory for the Netherlands against Belgium, in what was only the second FIVB Volleyball World League encounter between the two Low Countries. The Dutch entered the match on the back of two wins against Portugal, while Belgium had won their first four Pool E matches, all against Finland.

Although the two teams were meeting in the World League for only the second time, Dutch and Belgians knew each other well, with Jelte Maan of the Netherlands representing Belgian club Noliko Maaseik, Yannick van Harskamp, Gijs Jorna and Bas van Bemmelen playing at Topvolley Precura Antwerpen and Robbert Andringa and Jasper Diefenbach at Belgium's Volley BeHappy2 Asse Lennik.

The Dutch started with Nimir Abdel-Aziz, Jeroen Rauwerdink, Thomas Koelewijn, Kay Van Dijk, Dick Kooy, and Jasper Diefenbach, taking a short lead at the first technical timeout, then building on six successful blocks to lead 20-17. Belgium coach Dominique Baeyens requested a timeout, but the Dutch pushed on to win the set 25-21.

The second set featured another strong start for the Netherlands, who took a five-point advantage at 16-11. Gido Vermeulen's men held on to win the set 25-18.

The match was turned on its head at the beginning of the third set, when Belgium rushed to a seven-point lead at 5-12, setting the foundations for a remarkable comeback. Taking control of events, Belgium moved to a ten-point lead at 10-20 before claiming the set 14-25. Set four was a more disputed affair, but also ended well for the Belgians at 22-25.

The fifth and decisive set began with both teams moving to six points and then a one point lead for Belgium. The Netherlands scored three consecutive points to take a decisive lead at 8-6, with Nimir Abdel-Aziz then dishing out a series of unstoppable aces. Kay van Dijk's spike ended a fantastic spectacle at 15-9 in favour of the Dutch.

The match page has the full live commentary, photos and post-match comments.


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