Turin, Italy, September 26, 2010 - Czech Republic bounced back from defeat by France by beating China 3-1 (25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 25-22) on Sunday to keep alive their dream of reaching the second round of the 2010 FIVB World Championship.
Czech Republic's Peter Platenik top-scored with 23 points, including 21 spikes and two blocks, while team-mate Jiri Popelka added 20 points with 19 spikes and a block. Zhi Yuan led China's scoring with 16 points, followed by Weijun Zhong with 14. China held the advantage in blocks (8-5) and aces (5-1), but the Czechs were superior in spikes with 62 to China's 52.
FIVB Men's World Championship 2010 official page
After an opening loss to Bulgaria, China coach Jianan Zhou chose to start with Yuan, Jianjun Cui and Shuai Jiao, who replaced Qiong Shen, Ping Chen and Runming Li respectively. It was the Czechs, however, who reached the first technical timeout leading 8-6, with five different players having scored at least one point. They extended their margin to four points at 13-9, only to have China charge back to within one point at 15-14.
The central Europeans regained a three-point cushion at 17-14 with a Platenik block, but Cui served an ace to pull his team back to within one point at 17-16. Czech Republic scored six of the final nine points of the opening set, including three on China errors, for a 25-21 win. Popelka registered six spikes for the Czechs, while Yuan won China eight points.
The second set remained close until the midway stage when China obtained a two-point edge at 14-12 following a service error 10 metres beyond the boundary line and a hitting error by Czech Republic. China went into the Second Technical Timeout (STT) leading 16-13 following a block by Shen. Both teams were showing plenty of grit, with determined efforts to recover impossible balls on both sides of the net. But Yuan helped drive his side to a 25-19 win. He powered down seven spikes and a block for eight points in the second set, with China also benefitting from seven Czech errors.
The third set began with a concentrated Czech team on top. They were receiving well and looking strong in attack with six points scored by Popelka, and they held the advantage at the First Technical Timeout (FTT). The Czechs increased their advantage to 12-7 following a block from Platenik, then doubled up at the STT. Popelka's spikes and Jakub Vesely's quick hits were giving the Chinese difficulties, and they looked a pale shadow of the team that had won the previous set as the Czechs eased to a 25-18 result.
It was a different China once more in the fourth set as they stormed to a 10-8 lead after an ace by Ping Chen. After trailing 13-10, Czech Republic closed to within one point at 14-13 after a Platenik kill. China thn regained a three-point cushion at the STT on a Cui ace at 16-13. They led 18-14 too but the Czechs chipped away until they drew even at 21-21 on a Platenik spike. They scented victory now and took a 23-21 lead with another Platenik spike before finishing off as 25-22 winners following a Chinese attacking error into the net.