PUNE, INDIA (July 31, 2009) - In one of the toughest matches during the opening round of the 2009 FIVB Men's Junior World Championship being held in Pune, India, tournament defending champion Brazil edged 2007 runner-up Russia 30-28, 25-16, 23-25, 25-19 to open Pool D with a key victory.
Five different players reached double-figure scoring for Brazil. Mauricio Silva sparked the winners with 19 points, followed by 15 points apiece from Renan Buiatti and Franco Willian Cargnin Paese.
Russia’s Sergey Burtsev handled a team-high 18 points, while Levan Kalandadze tacked on 11 points in the loss.
Brazil's block proofed to be a major difference with 15 points coming at the net. Brazil also converted on 56 of its 116 spike attempts, while Russia was limited to a 51-120 conversion rate.
Russia was keen on winning the first set with a 10-4 lead. It looked as if the South American country was going to be swept off its feet. But Brazil, like a professional team, rallied strongly and steadily. Brazil's retrieve improved tremendous despite Russians strong serve. This was changing the complexion of the set completely. It was then a race as Maricio Silva, Santos and Cagnin Paese spiked well and captain and setter Murilo Radke created good openings for his spikers. Then came the most exciting part of the match in the first set as Russia and Brazil fought it out as the scores running 25-25, 26-26, 27-27. Just when Brazil was ahead 29-28 the towering Russian spiker Volvich hit the ball out much to the chagrin of his team.
From then on Brazil was moving like tigers going for every kill in the second set and Russia lost its rhythm. Having taken 17-10 lead Brazil was comfortably placed to win the second set. More than that its service return and attack became sharp and Russia was unable to match the rival skills.
Brazil, which went all out in the first two sets, was slowing down and Russia improved its block. Still Brazil reduced the lead to 16-17. But russia did not stumble this time and pressed home the advantage. There were some services into the net and erratic spiking, but Russia still managed to win the third set.
However, Brazil came back into its form in the fourth set in which it took 16-10 lead as Mauricio, Paese and Santos began to spike with excellent control. Russia was trailing, but it did not shore up its game. Its defence was too slack and Brazil pounded its way to victory. It was a big victory for Brazil, which was nervous in the beginning, but gained confidence after winning the first set.
And the crowd enjoyed every bit of this fight among the giants with claps. It was indeed a lively contest.