Italy defeated Belgium in straight sets in Pool B ©Twitter/ EuroVolley

Serbia maintained their unbeaten start to the Women's European Volleyball Championship with a battling victory against France in Ankara.

The defending champions sit top of Pool A with three wins from three after defeating France 25-19, 25-13, 17-25, 25-23 at Ankara Arena.

In the pool's other match hosts Turkey won 25-21, 25-11, 20-25, 25-18 against Bulgaria.

At Ondrej Nepela in Bratislava, Germany edged a five-set thriller against Russia.

The Russians were rocked by Irina Fetisova's withdrawal with appendicitis before their Pool D clash.

A topsy-turvy match saw Russia take the lead before Germany fought back to go 2-1 up, only for Russia to pull it level again.

Germany had the stamina to claim victory though, seeing the match out to an 18-25, 25-21, 25-23, 14-25, 15-11 finish. 

A deciding set was needed to split Slovakia and Belarus, the pool hosts coming through to win 22-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-18, 16-14.

In Pool B Italy dominated against Belgium with a 25-18, 25-11, 25-23 victory at Łódź's Atlas Arena.

They are yet to concede a set and sit top of the pool with a third successive win.

Pool hosts Poland lost the first set to Ukraine before taking the next three to seal a 20-25, 25-11, 25-22, 25-15 victory in the second match of the day.

At Budapest Sports Arena The Netherlands cruised to a straight sets win against Croatia.

They recorded a third Pool C win in three games on a 25-16, 25-18, 25-23 scoreline.

Hungary were overwhelmed by Aerbaijan in Budapest, going down 21-25, 22-25, 16-25.