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FIVB Men's Olympic Games 2008

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Venezuela qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games for the first time in its history

Formosa, Argentina, 8 January 2008 - Venezuela got revenge of the South American 2004 Athens Qualification Tournament when Argentina got the vacant place in Venezuela, winning in Formosa 1-3. The only goal for both teams - Argentina and Venezuela was to win the match, the South American Qualification Tournament and the ticket for Beijing Olympic Games. Nothing else was important. An unusual refereeing that showed the ability of both countries with the first referee being from Argentina and the second from Venezuela and a very exciting match for all Volleyball lovers showed that South American Teams deserve to stand on the top of the FIVB ranking. The final statistics showed the parity of both teams, specially on the first set when both teams showed the best of their output and their concentration but the balance bowed for the visiting team with a great Tejeda (substitute player).

On the first set, Venezuela started leading up to the first TTO 7-8 but with a performance very levelled Argentina got ahead after the score showed a 8-11 for the visiting team and from the 11-11 Argentina lead until the second TTO 16-15. Thereafter the fight point by point and the lead was without stop until the local team, with about 5,500 people cheering in favour of the light blue - white Jersey motivated the team and got a first 23-20 advantage. Both teams made many serving errors as they wanted to pressure from there avoiding the rival to receive well and making it hard for the setters to give a clean ball to the spikers. When the set was 20-24 Venezuela made a mistake when trying to make two changes and stood on the field without setter. On the 24-22 a new Time-Out was requested. Both teams were too nervous but Argentina's great Guillermo Garcia spike closed the set 25-22.

The second set started with the same fight and the difference was not bigger than one or two points, changing leadership until a 11-15 from Venezuela became a 12-16 on the second TTO for the visiting team with Argentina showing some more mistakes receiving and setting. Jon Uriarte requests his second time-out with the score 13-18. The come back of Argentina 15-18, made the Venezuelan coach ask one of his Time-Out and when Argentina scored 19-20, he asked his second one. Venezuela never gave the lead on the final part of the set with Argentina rowing from behind. Milinkovic mistake gave them the first set ball 21-24. The temperature in Formosa was about 40 degrees centigrade but with the score 23-24 inside the field added to the nerves of both teams including players and coaching teams was higher. Venezuela closed the set 23-25 putting the series 1-1.

The start of the third set could not be different between two strong teams. First lead by Venezuela, Argentina got motivated and reached the first TTO 8-6. With both teams giving their best the score became 11-11 and with Venezuela reaction the score got to 11-13. There was no rest and each ball meant life and dead for the 12 players on the field. Ivan Marquez, middle player has an outstanding performance and both teams stand on the shadow of each other with Venezuela getting to the second TTO 14-16. Argentina seems losing the control of the match and the visiting team gets a 3 point lead. Guillermo Garcia replaces Elgueta on the 16-19. Carlos Tejeda adds spiking and serving so Uriarte requests time to speak to his players on the 16-21. Giani replaces Quiroga but Venezuela is inspired and soon leads 17-23 to close 20-25.

Venezuela confidence keeps growing and Argentina needs a reaction before the start of the fourth set because their level is getting poorer. The lack of confidence of the local team gives Venezuela a 0-2 start. Argentina needs to improve its defence and from there on grow. Coming from behind the local team reacts and the first TTO shows a 7-8 score. Change of setters and a time out requested by Uriarte at 7-11 trying to find an answer to the lack of reaction of the Argentine team but the players keep making mistakes due to their nerves while Venezuela is very comfortable, even making aces and the second TTO comes with a big difference for the visiting team that leads the series 1-2, 10-16. Too soon for the local team the score shows 11-18. A 14-23 showed the difference lived on both sides of the net. Nothing to add when the fourth set closes 16-25.

Before the final match, Paraguay finished on the third place of the tournament after playing a very combative match vs. Uruguay that finished 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-16) with Juan Mendoza being the best scorer with 25 units. Uruguay, that won the first set of today's match, finished on the fifth place, with Diego Rodriguez being its best scorer with 22 points.

1. Venezuela 8
2. Argentina 7

3. Paraguay 6

4. Chile 5

5. Uruguay 4



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