While Ukraine defeated Estonia's men's volleyball team on Thursday, the game was in a sense a 'home' encounter for both teams, as Estonia is hosting the Ukrainian national squad, preparing for the world championships, due to the Russian invasion of their homeland.
Estonian player Markkus Uuskari said post-match that: "We can still add more, but we are generally satisfied. Ukraine certainly did not play out of its usual level."
Due to the war in Ukraine, the national men's volleyball team currently resides and trains in the Kääriku sports center near Otepää in South Estonia, while spectators and the local populace have been given the opportunity to support the squad – also joined by the Under-22 Ukrainian team – via the Estonian Volleyball Association (Eesti Võrkpalli Liit).
The overall result ended up being 3:0 (25:18, 25:20, 25:22) in favor of Ukraine (see gallery above).
Estonia won the consolation prize also on Thursday; following the main game, two extra rounds were played, which Estonia won 25:17 and 15:12.
Stand-in Estonian coach Alar Rikberg noted that while the Ukrainians were down five or six players from their main, regular squad, Estonia was missing more like 10.
"Today's game certainly showed that our team has a lot of depth. We have enough men who can play very high level volleyball," Rikberg, standing in for regular coach, Italian national Fabio Soli, said.
Ukraine was also missing its star player, Oleh Plotnytskyi.
The two sides meet again at the University of Tartu's sports hall this evening, Friday, at 6 p.m. Entry is free and can also be viewed live here.
The FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship runs August 26 to September 11 this year.
Editor: Andrew Whyte