Baku, June 24, AZERTAC
Poland's Katarzyna Skowronska-Dolata said she would have "cut her hands with a plastic knife" if Poland had lost to Germany after being two sets up in their women's Volleyball quarter-final at Crystal Hall.
Skowronska-Dolata's side were 2-0 up inside an hour up then were forced to salvage the match in the fifth set. The opposite, who plays her club volleyball in Baku, said she would have taken drastic action if they had not come out on top.
"For both teams it was crazy but I enjoyed it," Skowronska-Dolata said. "I was so angry in the third and fourth that I was thinking that I would cut my hands with a plastic knife if we did not win.
"I was so angry that we had played so badly. We had to fight in the fifth set."
Both teams scored evenly in a cautious start to the match, but Poland gained a two-point lead at 24-22. Germany captain Margareta Kozuch spiked, but a superb block from Katarzyna Zaroslinska put the Poles one up at 25-23.
A four-point lead was established in the second set as Poland went 9-5 up. The gap was never less than three and a Jennifer Geerties error gifted the set to Poland, who took it 25-17.
The third set was Germany's and, having led 16-15, coach Luciano Pedulla's side won seven consecutive points. They wasted two set points, but took the third when Maren Brinker's kill made it 25-18.
The fourth set was all Germany and they swept ahead and it won it easily when Kozuch found a gap in the Poland backline to make it 25-14.
Stunned Poland regained their composure in the fifth to win 15-10, and they will play the winner of Tuesday's final match between Belgium and Serbia.
"Our strategies depend on who we are going to play," Polish coach Jacek Nawrocki said. "Serbia and Belgium are strong teams. Serbia are powerful, while the Belgians' game is built more on tactics and good defence."
In the second quarter-final, Turkey beat Russia 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19) to set up a semi-final tie with either home nation Azerbaijan or the Netherlands.
Russia coach Vadim Pankov said his side had the ability to reach the next round, but did not produce enough threat to do so.
"We could have won this match," Pankov said. "But the quality of our game was lower than that of our rivals. We don't have a culture of volleyball yet, but this will come."