Turin, Italy, September 27, 2010 – The Czech Republic clinched a place in the second round of the 2010 FIVB Men's World Championship by defeating Bulgaria 25-23, 27-25, 28-30, 27-25 in Pool E at the PalaRuffini Hall in Turin.
The Czech Republic, who have not played in the World Championship since 1990, improved to 2-1 in the pool and a likely second-round date in Ancona as the second-best team in the group. At the last World Championship in 2006 Bulgaria finished with the bronze medal but now, at 1-2, they are left awaiting the outcome of the final game in the group between France and China to know if they have done enough to advance.
FIVB Men's World Championship 2010 official page
The Czech Republic had four players in double figures, led by Jan Stokr on 19, all with spikes. Peter Platenik added 18 spikes while Jiri Popelka and Petr Konecny each accrued 14 points. Bulgaria were led by Vladimir Nikolov's 22 points with 19 spikes, two blocks and an ace. Matey Kaziyski contributed 20 points while Viktor Yosifov added 10.
The first set was close early on but it was the Czechs who gained the first two-point cushion at 13-11. The teams then traded two-point scoring runs to reach ties at 13-13, 15-15 and 18-18. Bulgaria took the lead at 19-18 after a Czech error and added to it for 20-18 after another. The Czech Republic managed to square it at 20-20 with a Stokr spike, before another Stokr spike gave them the lead at 22-21. Konecny then collected a kill to give the Czech Republic set point at 24-23, and he added a block for 25-23 despite mis-timing his original attempt. Stokr scored seven points in the opening set.
Trailing 7-5 in the second set, Bulgaria came back to take the lead at 10-9 and added a Nikolay Nikolov spike and a Yosifov ace for a 12-9 advantage. The Czech Republic called for a timeout after Nikolay Penchev’s spike made it 20-16 to Bulgaria and the Czechs rallied to tie the set at 23-23 after a Platenik spike and a Konecny ace, which led to a Bulgarian timeout. The Czechs then saved two set points and took the lead at 26-25 with a spike from Popelka before ending it thanks to an unforced Bulgarian error on a wide attack. Bulgaria handed the Czech Republic seven points simply on service errors in the second set.
Bulgaria led the third set 2-0 to set the tone and they reached the second technical timeout leading 16-14 before increasing their advantage to 19-14 with a Kaziyski ace. The Czech Republic found the energy to climb to within two points at 19-17 with a Stokr kill and a Lukas Tichacek block, and they tied the set at 22-22 following a Platenik kill and a Bulgarian attacking error at the net. The teams then traded points until Bulgaria eventually won the set 30-28 at the sixth time of asking following a Kaziyski spike and a Czech error.
The Czechs opened up a 9-6 lead in the fourth set following consecutive kills by Platenik, Jakub Vesely found open court for a Czech ace to make it 13-10 and the lead had reached 16-12 by the second technical timeout. With a Vesely block and a Platenik spike, the Czech Republic gained a 19-13 advantage. However, Bulgaria reeled off five points capped by consecutive blocks to make it 19-18 and took the lead at 23-22 on a Czech Republic setting error after a Tsvetan Sokolov spike. Konecny then put the Czech Republic back into the lead at 24-23 with a spike before they won the match at 27-25 when a Bulgaria attack went long.