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FIVB Men's Olympic Games 2008

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Russia down Brazil on third day of Men's Olympic Volleyball Tournament in Beijing; Italy, China, USA, Germany, Poland all claim victories

Russian players celebrate during their victory over reigning Olympic champions Brazil on Thursday in Beijing

Beijing, China, August 14, 2008 - Russia overpowered Brazil as the two titans clashed on Day 3 of the Men's Olympic Volleyball Tournament in Beijing. In other matches Thursday, Italy, China, USA, Germany and Poland claimed victories.

In Pool A, Italy beat Venezuela 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-21), China downed Japan in five sets (25-20, 25-23, 17-25, 16-25, 15-10) in front of 13,000 fans and USA beat Bulgaria 3-1 (27-29, 25-21, 25-14, 26-24). In Pool B, Germany downed Egypt in straight sets (29-27, 25-21, 25-21), Russia beat Brazil 3-1 (22-25, 26-24, 31-29, 25-19) in front of 12,000 spectators and Poland downed Serbia 3-1 (31-29, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21).

POOL A

Italy 3 Venezuela 0

Italy did not meet any major challenges to skip past Venezuela in straight sets in a little more than one hour to collect their second win from three outings at the Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium. Alessandro Fei from Italy was injured during the match. With the win, Italy now has a win-and-loss record at 2-1, improving their chances of booking a ticket to the quarterfinals while Venezuela, a first-time participant in the Olympic Games Men's Volleyball event, suffered their third defeat. Despite winning the match, Italy paid dearly as one of their key players, Fei, was injured when he fell heavily on the floor while spiking. Italy team captain Alberto Cisolla expressed hope for Fei's early recovery so as to join them in the later competition. Cisolla said: "Alessandro Fei is one of the best players in our team. His injury is unfortunate. We hope he can recover soon and play in our future games." World No. 10 Italy seemed to recover from their 3-1 defeat to the United States and started the first set strongly, jumping to a 4-0 lead through a spike from Cisolla and powerful service by Emanuele Birarelli. But five unforced errors cost Italy dearly, letting their opponents level the scores at six all. However, Italy finally got their game in order and gained the lead again through the set. Things did not change in the second set. Despite some good spiking from captain Ernardo Gomes, Venezuela faced problems in blocking, and made many errors (a total of 23 in the match). The final score of the set was predictable at 25-20. Venezuela, after losing the first two sets, put up strong a counterattack in the early stage of the third set, and the gap was within one or two points. But the offensive weapons Cisolla, who clinched 13 points, Vigor Bovolenta and wing spike Matteo Martino, who scored 10 points each for Italy, led their team to an easy set win in 21 minutes and the match. The Italian Federation reported later that Fei, has twisted his left ankle but has suffered no fractures. In 48-72 hours the team doctor will explain his condition.

China 3 - Japan 2

Host China lightened its outlook to enter the quarterfinals after a memorable win over error-prone Japan. In the deafening cheers of "Zhongguo, Bisheng" (China, surely win) from the home fans, China gave full play of its fast-attack style of play to tame its old rival. The Asian derby is a must-win step of for two teams, who are regarded on the same par, as China holds a 1-2 win-loss record so far, while Japan suffers from two consecutive losses. However, the host was proved a cut above the Japanese, especially on reception and serving. China took the first set and Japan failed to stem China's winning momentum in the second set and their unforced errors gave the rivals another 10 points. Starting with 14-10, China controlled the play and improved to 24-21, thanks to the spikes of 19-year-old Bian Hongmin and Yuan Zhi. After missing two match points, a determined China took the set with an unanswered spike of Yuan. However, the host fell into sleep in the third set. After breaking a 14-14 draw, Japan launched a brilliant to 9-1run to take over lead 23-15 with the spike of southpaw hitter Takahiro Yamamoto and ace serves of Yu Koshikawa. China pulled back two points, but Yamamoto's ace serve helped Japan pull the set back. The fourth set went almost the same way as the third. The match was forced into the tiebreak. Koshikawa and Yamamoto continued to break China's reception and defence with powerful serve and spikes in the early stages of the tie-break, and China replied through Bian and Shen Qiong, who continued to come up with clean winners on either side, 8-7 China at the turn around. China staged a stunning 6-2 run with kill block of Shen and spikes from Fang Yingchao, a new face to Japan who was sent to the court at the fourth set. China had three match points at 14-9, but missed two with wild spike of Shi Hairong. The fervency of the spectators went through the roof when the middle blocker Fang rose at the net and his attack was touched out by the Japanese block to end it.

Bulgaria 1 USA 3

USA recovered from a set down to stay atop of Pool A after defeating Bulgaria in four sets at the Capital Indoor Stadium. The first set was tighter than expected as Bulgaria trailed USA closely, helped by spikes across the net from Todor Aleksiev. USA adjusted their defence, setting up more deep spikes with digs from libero Richard Lambourne and setter Lloy Ball. Outside hitters Clayton Stanley and Boyan Yordanov exchanged spikes from the left side of the court in the third set. The Americans covered their court well and won 25-15. Bulgaria battled back in the fourth set, Viadimir Nikolov showing control with spikes that caught USA's defence napping. USA hitters Stanley and William Priddy delivered the goods on the crucial points. Stanley's heavy spikes from the right finally gave USA the set and the match. USA captain Thomas Hoff said: "Obviously we're very happy, the Bulgarians are strong, powerful, big guys, even if they miss (Plamen) Konstantinov, a player who can control the ball very good. We're playing better and better, we made some adjustments watching the videos. Eventually we made a couple of good plays to close the match."

POOL B

Germany 3 Egypt 0

Germany laboured to a first win against unfancied Egypt at the Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium. The match saw the two winless teams face each other for the first time in any competition and there was little to choose between them in a tight first set. Germany, still reeling from their 2-3 narrow loss to Russia on Tuesday, were complacent in the opening points and allowed Saleh Youssef and Mohamed Seif Elnasr to have the lead. The Germans could not get their player combinations right, while digs from Marcus Popp and setter Frank Dehne were left unfinished as attacks were slow to coordinate. Numerous substitutions late in the first set changed the flow of the game, as all-rounder Jochen Schops reduced a series of flawless spikes. Germany edged the set 29-27 after the referee penalised libero Wael Alaydy for a line violation. Germany would not have been expected to dictate the rest of the match but suffered from clumsy errors and a failure to use key players at the net. Schops and Bjorn Andrae were forced to raise their game and Germany forged ahead to win the second set 25-21 on the back of a powerful ace from Schops. The Germans completed their first Beijing Olympic Games victory by winning the third set 25-21, but they will be looking to improve their 19 service errors in the match. Germany Head Coach Stelian Moculescu said: "Our success in the first set played a decisive role in our success in the next two sets. The Egyptian team was a bit emotional. Perhaps losing the first set contributed to them losing the sets after that. All the games involve time, and you should believe that you will win in time. Time is the key to success."

Brazil 1 - Russia 3

Russia recovered from a set down to stun defending Olympic champions Brazil in four sets at the Capital Indoor Stadium. The Russians now top Pool B with three wins and are assured of reaching the next phase of the tournament. The two-hour thriller featured spirited scoring from both sides, with Brazil's Andre recording a game-high 26 points. Both teams started the first set without their captains, Giba of Brazil and Vadim Khamuttskikh. Andre's hands were on fire as he blasted seven kills, one ace and a block to lead the Brazilian attackers. Brazil's Murilo Endres made a good save and was quick on his feet to block the Russian spike on the opposite side, and Brazil led 22-18. Brazil then triple-blocked Sergey Tetyukhin to take the first set. Russia produced their own late run to win the second set. Andre challenged Russian blockers on his powerful swings but was blocked on the last attempt to give the second set to Russia. Brazil's Gustavo Endres single-blocked Alexander Volkov on the right side to start a 3-0 run in the third set for Brazil. Brazil had a comfortable lead and even had a couple of set points but the Russians stayed in the game. Maxim ikhaylov redeemed his previous performance in the other sets as he relentlessly scored on the right side on the fourth set. Mikhaylov blocked a Dante swing to end set three. Russia steadied and used their momentum in the fourth set. The Russian blocks shut out Andre's offence. Giba, carrying a shoulder injury was even brought in to replace Dante and Anderson for Andre to spark the Brazilian offence but it was too late. Said Brazil captain Giba: "My shoulder is better. I need to wait though. The competition is long. I need to do physiotherapy and have medicals before each time I play. Brazil have 12 players. I want to play but I don't want to create trouble for the team. At the moment there are others playing better than me and they are better physically."

Poland 3 - Serbia 1

Poland defeated Serbiaat the Capital Indoor Stadium Gymnasium. Early in the set, Serbia's Ivan Miljkovic led the Serbian team with a variety of speed and power. The Serbs took an early lead, but Poland finished with an offensive barrage from Daniel Plinski, Michal Winiarski, Mariusz Wlaszly and Lukasz Kadwiewicz. Poland finally took the set 31-29. Miljkovic led the Serbs to a second set win, with Poland's unforced errors being their downfall. In the third set, Poland took the lead 11-7 thanks to an impressive blocking performance and Poland eventually took the set. In the fourth set, it seemed that as the Polish attack got stronger their defence also strengthened in kind, with the scoreline of 25-21 flattering the Serbians. Poland Head Coach Raul Lozano said: "Today's match between the two teams was fantastic, both did very well. Our opponents showed their high level of play. As the coach of the other team said, our opponents lost because of the loss of some key players. I'm pleased with the fact that my team has qualified for the quarterfinals."

More information

Drawing of lots for quarter-finals:

The FIVB Control Committee of the Olympic Games will conduct the Drawing of lots for the Quarter Finals immediately after the end of the preliminary round. The first four teams of each pool will advance to the eliminatory phase with this format:

A1 vs B4 (seeded)

A2/A3 vs B2/B3 (drawn)

A4 vs B1 (seeded)

The FIVB will draw, according to the FIVB Specific Competition Regulation, the matches A2/A3 vs B2/B3 and set the match order for the quarter-final matches.

The Drawing of lots will be open to the media and conducted in the Press Conference Room of the Capital Indoor Stadium.

Women's Tournament: Sunday August 17, 2008, after the match Russia-Serbia

Men's Tournament: Monday August 18, 2008, after the match Japan-USA.

Follow Me

Volleyball legend Andrea Zorzi is blogging from Beijing with his popular "Follow Me" blog, linked to the FIVB website. Today Zorzi has posted a video interview with Italy's Francesca Piccinini and asks whether the Brazilian Men's dominance is a thing of the past.

  
 

 

  
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