Trieste, Italy, September 26, 2010 – Canada caused an upset in front of a record audience of 5,766 at the Palatrieste by defeating the 2010 World League bronze medallists Serbia in four sets (25-20, 25-22, 17-25, 25-23).
The surprise victory by Glenn Hoag's men confirms that a competitive-looking Pool F must be considered probably the toughest of the six preliminary sections at this FIVB Volleyball World Championship. With their victory Canada stayed in full contention for a spot in the next round ahead of the day's other fixture between Poland and Germany.
FIVB Men's World Championship 2010 official page
Serbia coach Igor Kolakovic opted for a totally different starting six from the opening game against Germany with Nikola Grbic and Ivan Miljkovic enjoying some rest and only Marko Podrascanin, Nikola Kovacevic and Dragan Stankovic retaining starting roles. After their brilliant win over Germany on Saturday evening, the Serbians may have underestimated their opponents, though another theory suggests they would prefer not to finish first in the group and, in the process, earn themselves a more comfortable draw in the next stage of the competition.
That said, Team Canada started with the same good tempo they had showed at the opening of Saturday's game with Poland, and were in front at the first and second technical breaks (8-5 and 16-13). Serbia were struggling with their defensive game and without Grbic, the difference in their rhythm was evident. An unhappy Kolalovic asked for a timeout but Canada retained their momentum and claimed their first set of this World Championship with a fast attack from the middle by captain Louis-Pierre Mainville.
The match was turning out to be much more exciting than initially expected and Kolakovic was forced to revise his strategy, with Grbic and Miljkovic joining the match to loud cheers from the Serbian fans. At this point, the mission for Canada and coach Hoag got more complicated; Frederic Winters maintained his role as a solid attacking force but a few errors moved the count to 16-14 in Serbia's favour. Yet those who assumed Serbia were turning things around were proved wrong, as Canada fought back vigorously, with Hoag opting for the right substitutions and the North Americans stamping an astonishing 2-0 lead on the scoreboard.
The Canadians paid the price – more mentally than physically – in a third set that Serbia ran away with. Yet even here the performance of the men in red and blue jerseys – and especially of opposite Miljkovic (with a mere 21 per cent of efficiency in attack) – was far from excellent. The Serbians' lack of consistency was only too apparent in the fourth set where it looked like Canada had things under full control by the time of the Second Technical Timeout (16-14). The left-handed Dallas Soonias played a telling role for the North Americans with his spikes – whose unusual trajectory made them difficult to predict – but it was Justin Duff from the middle who triggered the celebrations at the finish.