Florence, Italy, October 8, 2010 - Argentina served up a spectacular victory (23-25, 25-19, 25-19, 26-24) over Spain at the Nelson Mandela Forum in the first match of the 9-12 classification round.
Javier Weber’s team were in control throughout, showing superiority in attack and receiving against a Spanish side who lacked a finishing touch. Argentina will now play in the ninth-place match on Saturday against the Czech Republic, while Spain will face France.
Facundo Conte led the scoring for Argentina with 17 points, followed by Gustavo Scholtis with 13. Spain's Iban Perez was top scorer in the match with 25 points, having converted 60 per cent of his attacks. Eight of Perez's teammates scored at least two points in the match but Argentina gained 29 points on Spanish errors and held a 9-5 advantage in blocks.
Argentina started on the front foot and at the First Technical Timeout (FTT) Weber's team led 8-5. Julio Velasco, Spain’s Argentinian coach, tried his upmost to give his team some consistency and after the pause they immediately tied the score up at 8-8. Although Conte and company seized two important opportunities, gaining a two-point break at 18-17, Spain responded and an Argentina error allowed the Europeans to close the set at 25-23, albeit Conte top-scored with 10 points.
The second set started on the same path as the first. Argentina dug deep and at the FTT they led 8-6. Spain lost ground and the South Americans extended their lead to 11-7 with the middle blocker, Martin Blanco Costa, playing a prominent role. At the STT, Argentina were still ahead at 16-14 and with Spain committing errors in attack, Weber's men were able to shut the set out at 25-19.
Argentina had established a narrow 8-6 lead through some front-line shots by the FTT of the third set. Although two attacking errors let Spain narrow the gap, Argentina were playing the better game. Perez delivered two aces for Spain but Argentina were showing greater precision at the net and with a 23-19 lead, Scholtis and Pablo Crer's blocks then allowed them to close the set at 25-19. Blanco Costa's block gave Argentina the first point of the fourth set and Argentina stayed on top, leading at the FTT 8-6. Captain Rodrigo Quiroga was in commanding form and while Manuel Sevillano’s service kept Spain in the match, there was now only going to be one outcome. Argentina missed several match points before a Spanish attacking error finally completed their win at 26-24.