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PRESS RELEASE

World League - June 16 - Serbia qualify for Final Six; France suffer first loss

 
Serbia players celebrate their win over Argentina
 Lausanne, Switzerland, June 16, 2017 – Drazen Luburic was the top scorer as Serbia qualified for Group 1’s Final Six in the FIVB World League with a tense 3-2 (25-22, 19-25, 25-22, 28-30, 15-12) victory over Argentina in Cordoba on Friday.

Meanwhile, Canada strengthened their chances with a five-set (25-23, 25-13, 24-26, 22-25, 15-10) victory over Belgium in Antwerp, while Final Six hosts Brazil breezed past Bulgaria 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-22), also in Cordoba.

In the day’s other Group 1 match in Antwerp, Italy got the better of France in another pulsating five-setter: 20-25, 25-21, 24-26, 25-20, 16-14.

There were six matches in Group 2, with leaders Slovenia earning maximum points in a spell-binding match against Egypt in Cairo. The overall score was 3-0, but the set scores tell a different story: 25-23, 39-27, 25-23. Behind Slovenia, the Netherlands and Australia both raised their records to 5-2 on the back of very different wins.

The Dutch had few problems defeating Korea 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-16) in The Hague, but Japan pushed Australia to the limit in Kunshan, China, with the Aussies prevailing 3-2 (29-27, 18-25, 24-26, 25-21, 15-9). Japan fell to 4-3 but are fourth in the Group 2 standings. 

The Czech Republic and Slovakia are also on 4-3 after the two neighbouring countries clashed in The Hague, with the Czechs easing to a 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-17) victory.

China leapfrogged opponents Turkey into seventh place with a 3-0 victory in Kunshan. Again, the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story until you add the set scores: 43-41, 26-24, 25-21. The day’s other Group 2 match saw Portugal beat Finland 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-22) in Cairo.

There were no Group 3 matches on Friday as the competition has reached its final stage. Saturday’s semi-finals will see hosts Mexico take on Estonia, while Germany will face Spain in an all-European clash.

Saturday sees some huge Group 1 matches on the schedule, including: 

Argentina v Brazil
Italy v Belgium
France v Canada.



Group 1
Drazen Luburic led the scorers as defending champions Serbia qualified for the 2017 World League Final Six after withstanding a brilliant Argentina fightback in Cordoba. The Serbs struggled throughout to claim their sixth victory in seven games and draw level with Group 1 leaders France. They relied on the four-headed threat of Drazen Luburic (19 points), Marko Ivovic (18 points), Uros Kovacevic (17 points) and Srecko Lisinac (16 points). Martin Ramos led Argentina with 18 points.

Italy kept alive their slim hopes of progressing to the Final Six as they ended France's unbeaten record in a pulsating 3-2 victory (20-25, 25-21, 24-26, 25-20, 16-14). The competition’s top-scorer, Stephen Boyer, who began the match with 106 points from six matches, added another 19 for France alongside team-mate Thibault Rossard, but it was sturdy Italian defence which saw the underdogs to victory. Matteo Piano (five) and Fabio Ricci (four) led the way with some outstanding blocks as Italy largely thwarted a French attack that had outgunned so many teams in their first six matches. The Italians also looked extremely dangerous in attack with Luigi Randazzo, Luca Vettori and Ricci all weighing in with 14 points.

Canada boosted their hopes of qualifying for the 2017 World League Final Six after withstanding a brilliant Belgian fightback to win a five-set thriller (25-23, 25-13, 24-26, 22-25, 15-10) in Friday’s late Group 1 game in Antwerp. Stephen Timothy Maar was in electric form for the Pan-American Games bronze medallists, he poured in 24 points to lead the Canadian attack, while Graham Vigrass and Daniel Vandoorn weighed in with 16 points apiece. Vital Heynen’s hosts, who were on the backfoot for much of the contest, were led by Gert van Walle who chipped in with 20 points

“This was a hard game and I'm happy with the win,” said Canada coach Stephane Antiga. “We could have won 3-0, but we didn't.”




Group 2
Mitja Gasparini scored 17 points and led Slovenia to a closely contested 3-0 win over Egypt on Friday. In what may serve as a consolation prize for the home team, Ahmed Abdelhay was the night’s top scorer, having put 23 points on the board. The second set was a nailbiter from start to finish. Slovenia managed to build a slender 22-20 lead, but Egypt took a few points in a row to earn set point. Slovenia persevered, however, saving a few set points of their own before finishing the long set. A powerful spike from Gasparini sealed the set for Slovenia at 39-37. 

Chuan Jiang scored a match high of 17 points contributing to China's 3-0 (43-41, 26-24, 25-21) victory over Turkey. The first set saw an amazing battle between the two teams with China prevailing 43-41. Turkey were close to winning it when they extended their lead to 22-19 but three great rallies let China level the scores at 22 and eventually to win the set.

Paul Carroll scored a match high 27 points contributing to Australia's 3-2 (29-27, 18-25, 24-26, 25-21, 15-9) victory over Japan. Luke Smith added 22 points for the winning side while Japan were led by Haku Ri and Issei Otake, who scored a team high of 16 points each. 




Group 3
The first semi-final between Germany and Spain takes place at 22:00 GMT on Saturday in Leon, Mexico. The winners of that clash will face either Mexico or Estonia, whose semi-final starts two and a half hours later. The final will take place on Sunday.


Top Scorer by Day

 

32 - Chuan Jiang of China v Turkey on June 2

29 - Tsvetan Sokolov of Bulgaria v Argentina on June 3

28 - Metin Toy of Turkey v Netherlands on June 4

17 - Urpo Sivula of Finland v Slovakia on June 8 (only two matches)

27 - Maxim Michshenko of Kazakhstan v Tunisia on June 9

25 - Hamza Nagga of Tunisia v Chinese Taipei on June 10

31 – Giulio Sabbi of Italy v Russia on June 11

27 – Paul Carroll of Australia v Japan on June 16

 

Top Scoring Performances

 

32 - Chuan Jiang of China v Turkey on June 2

31 – Giulio Sabbi of Italy v Russia on June 11

29 - Tsvetan Sokolov of Bulgaria v Argentina on June 3

29 - Nathan Roberts of Australia v Portugal on June 2

28 - Metin Toy of Turkey v Netherlands on June 4

27 - Maxim Michshenko of Kazakhstan v Tunisia on June 9

27 - Evandro Guerra of Brazil v Iran on June 3

27 – Paul Carroll of Australia v Japan on June 16

 

Top Individual Serving Performances

 

7 - Ahmed Abdelhay of Egypt v Czech Republic on June 9

6 – Thibault Rossard of France v Italay on June 16

6 - Valdir Sequeirq of Portugal v Finland on June 16

6 - Pedro Rangel of Mexico v Greece on June 3

6 - Maxim Zhigalov of Russia v Argentina on June 2

5 - Masahiro Yanagida of Japan v Slovenia on June 10

5 - Rafail Koumentakis of Greece v Spain on June 4

 

Top Team Serving Performances

 

14 – Portugal v Finland on June 16

12 – Italy v Russia on June 11

12 - Egypt v Czech Republic on June 9

12 - Turkey v Netherlands on June 4

11 – France v Italy on June 16

11 - Serbia v USA on June 2

10 – Canada v Belgium on June 16

10 - Venezuela v Kazakhstan on June 3

9 – Italy v France on June 16

9 - Canada v Serbia on June 4

9 - Serbia v Canada on June 4

9 - Belgium v USA on June 4

9 - USA v Canada on June 3

 

Top Individual Blocking Performances

 

9 - Peter Ondrovic of Slovakia v China on June 10

7 - Graham Vigrass of Canada v Bulgaria on June 10

7 - Nikolay Nikolov of Bulgaria v Canada on June 10

7- Simon Van De Voorde of Belgium v Argentina on June 10

7 - Samuel Walker of Australia v Slovakia on June 3

7 - Bozidar Cuk of Montenegro v Tunisia on June 2

6 – Matteo Piano of Italy v France on June 16

6 - Hamza Nagga of Tunisia v Montenegro on June 11

6 – Ardo Kreek of Estonia v Greece on June 11

6 - Denis Biriukov of Russia v Bulgaria on June 4

6 - Emerson Gonzalez of Venezuela v Kazakhstan on June 3

6 - Filip Cveticanin of Portugal v Japan on June 3

6 - Ales Holubec of Czech Republic v Finland on June 3

6 - Alen Pajenk of Slovenia v Korea on June 3

 

Top Team Blocking Performances

 

21 – Qatar v Venezuela on June 11

21 - Slovakia v China on June 10

21 - Slovenia v Korea on June 3

21 - Montenegro v Tunisia on June 2

18 – Tunisia v Montenegro on June 11

18 - Russia v Bulgaria on June 4

18 - Australia v Slovakia on June 3

18 - Czech Republic v Finland on June 3

17 – Italy v France on June 16

17 - Russia v France on June 3

 

Highest Scoring Sets

 

45-43 – Qatar v Venezuela on June 11

43-41 – China v Turkey on June 16

39-37 – Slovakia v Egypt on June 16

33-31 – Italy v Russia on June 11

30-28 – Argentina v Serbia on June 16

30-28 – USA v Iran on June 15

30-28 - Kazakhstan v Tunisia on June 9

30-28 - Slovakia v Australia on June 3

30-28 - Canada v Bulgaria on June 10

29-27 – Australia v Japan on June 16

29-27 – Spain v Austria on June 11

29-27 – Iran v Argentina on June 11

29-27 – Venezuela v Qatar on June 11

29-27 - Qatar v Greece on June 10

29-27 - China v Netherlands on June 3

28-26 – Turkey v Slovenia on June 11

28-26 - Germany v Spain on June 10

28-26 - Belgium v USA on June 4

27-25 – Poland v Canada on June 11

27-25 - Japan v Turkey on June 9

27-25 - Bulgaria v Russia on June 4

27-25 - Mexico v Qatar on June 4

27-25 - France v Argentina on June 4

27-25 - Netherlands v Egypt on June 2

27-25 - Tunisia v Montenegro on June 2

27-25 - Netherlands v Egypt on June 2

27-25 - Slovakia v Japan on June 2

 

Highest Scoring Matches

 

231 – Italy v Russia 2-3 (33-31, 23-25, 25-21, 23-25, 10-15) on June 11

223 – Serbia v Argentina 3-2 (25-22, 19-25, 25-22, 28-30, 15-12) on June 16

223 – Qatar v Venezuela 3-1 (27-29, 25-16, 45-43, 25-13) on June 11

222 - Korea v Czech Republic 3-2 (25-17, 23-25, 24-26, 25-20, 15-12) on June 2

220 – Iran v Argentina 3-2 (29-25, 25-20, 20-25, 23-25,15-11) on June 11

220 - Turkey v Netherlands 3-2 (25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 24-26, 17-15) on June 4

219 – Australia v Japan 3-2 (29-27, 18-25, 24-26, 25-21, 15-9) on June 16

219 - Czech Republic v Egypt 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-23, 16-14) on June 9

219 - Korea v Finland 3-2 (24-26, 25-21, 25-23, 22-25, 15-13) on June 4

219 - Australia v Portugal 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 25-18, 22-25, 20-18) on June 2

217 - Belgium v Canada 2-3 (22-25, 25-19, 24-26, 25-23, 13-15) on June 2

215 - Turkey v China 3-2 (25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 24-26, 15-12) on June 2

214 - Bulgaria v Argentina 2-3 (23-25, 25-23, 25-20, 21-25, 12-15) on June 3

212 - Belgium v Argentina 3-2 (23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 24-26, 15-6) on June 10



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