Busto Arsizio, Italy, October 10, 2015. Though their heroes lost to volleyball standout Russia on Friday, Finland’s supporters definitely were the real icing on the cake for the opening day of the men’s EuroVolley 2015 at Palayamamay in Busto Arsizio. The Suomi group includes more than 2,000 fans who have come down to Italy to cheer on the players mentored by Tuomas Sammelvuo as they perform in a ‘group of death’ including – apart from Russia – also 2015 FIVB World League runner-up Serbia and Slovakia.
The Suomi delegation is headed by the country’s Minister of Education and Culture, Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, and on Friday the Finns found their way to Palayamamay already well before the start of their heroes’ debut with Russia. They contributed to a great atmosphere and never stopped cheering their heroes on with their “Hyva Suomi!” slogan.
The group includes also brothers Seppo and Pentti from Helsinki who enthusiastically recount their Italian experience: “Our first impressions from Italy are just great! We especially like the food and the wine,” they say with a bright smile. “Volleyball is one of the most popular and followed sports in Finland together with basketball and ice hockey. This pool is very tough and we do not know how this is going to end for our team. However, we know that we have a good team.”
Lasse, from Tampere, travelled to Italy on Monday with two good friends. They are set to travel back to Finland this coming Monday following the completion of the pool phase and still hope their heroes can win a medal at EuroVolley 2015. They seem not to have any doubts about who is going to come out on top at the end of the tournament: “Italy will win!”
In order to create the right ambiance for their heroes to perform their best, the Suomi fans have even provided a CD with popular Finnish songs to be added to the playlist of the DJ performing at Palayamamay. These tracks also include a bilingual version of ‘L’italiano’, a worldwide hit song by Italian singer and songwriter Toto Cutugno released in 1983.
Finland’s best result to date at the men’s EuroVolley is their fourth place from the 2007 edition in Moscow, Russia.
For more information on the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men in social media, please use the competition’s official hashtag #EuroVolleyM.