London 2012

Press release

No surprises on opening day as favourites all win

Poland's man of the match Bartosz Kurek powering one of his hits from the back row along the way to a 3-1 win over Italy

London, Great Britain, July 29, 2012 – A series of wins in straight sets highlighted the first day of the men’s volleyball tournament at Earls Court and even though the local heroes of Great Britain suffered a setback in their debut against Bulgaria, still this day will remain an absolute milestone in the history of that sport in the United Kingdom.

The pre-favorite teams all lived up to the expectations as they embarked on their quest for Olympic glory with Russia imposing its physical power on Germany, USA displaying a very solid performance with Serbia and Brazil comfortably routing the African representatives of Tunisia to make it to the top of the charts in Pool B with maximum points from the first round of play.

As for Pool A, Bulgaria bested the hosts of Team GB in the morning session to be joined on top of the standings by Argentina, whose young players dismantled the resistance provided by Australia in a real demonstration of superb quality and self-confidence. As for the absolute highlight of the day, Poland continued its terrific march from the World League finals by scoring a 3:1 win over Italy, totally dominating the scene in the fourth set where Bartosz Kurek delighted a massive crowd of fans perfectly dressed in their white and red outfits who had contributed a splendid atmosphere at Earls Court, making this venue a sort of British “subdivision” of the always packed sports halls of Europe’s volleyball “Mecca”.    

Great Britain vs. Bulgaria 0:3

Bulgaria beat Great Britain in straight sets (25-18, 25-20, 26-24) in match that opened the men’s Olympic tournament at Earls Court on Sunday morning. This was the first time in history these sides were crossing their ways and even though the home heroes were cheered by a massive crowd, still they could not crown their Olympic debut with a victory. Todor Skrimov and Vladimir Nikolov piled up 14 points apiece for Bulgaria while Mark Plotyczer set the pace for Team GB with 16. Bulgaria played with more consistency in all fundamentals, registering 13 blocks and 4 aces vs. 6 and 2 respectively for the Britons.

Russia vs. Germany 3:0

Russia started its Olympic campaign on Sunday by downing Germany in three straight sets (31-29, 25-18, and 25-17) in the first match on schedule for Pool B. With this result the guys coached by Vladimir Alekno improved on their already remarkable record sealing the 18th win out of 21 international matches against Germany officially sanctioned by the FIVB. Russia registered superb figures with a total of 11 blocks and 5 aces throughout the match, but spectacular remains also the 127 km/h serve by György Grozer, a terrific missile that even the Russian defense line could not fully stand.

Australia vs. Argentina 0:3

Argentina beat Australia in straight sets (25-21, 25-22, 25-20) in their opening match for preliminary round Pool A at Earls Court on Sunday. Sebastian Sole, Facundo Conte and Pablo Crer finished with 13, 12 and 11 points respectively to spearhead the winning offense while Australia’s Thomas Edgar had a match-high 16 points and Igor Yudin added 13 to the count of the guys from “Down Under”. Sole was effective in 9 of 11 killing attempts while Crer was even better going 8-for-9 in his attacks.

United States vs. Serbia 3:0

The 2008 Olympic champions of USA beat Serbia in straight sets (25-17, 25-22, and 25-21) in their opening match of Pool B at Earls Court on Sunday afternoon. With this result the US Americans could improve their record with Serbia as entering into this game they had claimed only 3 out of 13 international matches against the 2011 European champions. US American rising star Matthew Anderson paced his side with 18 points while middle blocker Marko Podrascanin topped the charts for Serbia with 13. The USA outblocked Serbia 16 to 11 and their all-round performance was extremely consistent and solid.

Italy vs. Poland 1:3

World No. 3 Poland came back from a one-set deficit to defeat Italy 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 25-23, and 25-14) on Sunday at Earls Court Gym. It was a strong performance by the Polish team which is considered as one of the favorites to take home one of the three medals in London. Bartosz Kurek scored a match-high 18 points as one of three Polish players with double figures in the match. Zbigniew Bartman and Michal Winiarski contributed 15 and 13 points respectively. Italy’s Cristian Savani finished with 15 points while Michal Lasko and Ivan Zaytsev closed the match with 14 and 13 tallies.

Brazil vs. Tunisia 3:0

Brazil beat Tunisia in straight sets (25-17, 25-21, and 25-18) in their opening match of the preliminary round of the men’s volleyball tournament at Earls Court on Sunday. Brazil’s offense was evenly distributed with Murilo Endres and Lucas Saatkamp contributing 9 points apiece but it was Tunisia’s Hichem Kaabi that eventually top scored in the match with 12. It was Brazil’s second win over Tunisia on the Olympic arena and the eighth positive result for the triple world champions in as many matches with the side from Northern Africa.

Highest Scorers day- by- day
21 – Maxim Mikhaylov of Russia v Germany (29-7-12)

Top- Scoring Performances
21 – Maxim Mikhaylov of Russia v Germany (29-7-12)
18 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Serbia (29-7-12)
18 – Bartosz Kurek of Poland v Italy (29-7-12)
16 – Thomas Edgar of Australia v Argentina (29-7-12)
16 – Mark Plotyczer of Great Britain v Bulgaria (29-7-12)
15 – Zbigniew Bartman of Poland v Italy (29-7-12)
15 – Cristian Savani of Italy v Poland (29-7-12)

Top-Blocking Performances
7 – Marko Podrascanin of Serbia v USA (29-7-12)
6 – Todor Skrimov of Bulgaria v Great Britain (29-7-12)
5 – Dmitriy Muserskiy of Russia v Germany (29-7-12)

Top-Serving Performances
3 – Bartosz Kurek of Poland v Italy (29-7-12)

Highest Set Score:
31-29 – Russia v Germany (Set 1) on 29-7-12

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