Milan, Italy, September 27, 2010 – The make-up of the teams advancing to the second round of the FIVB Men’s World Championship in Italy was completed on Monday after an action-packed final day of the first round.
Egypt, Japan, Spain, Cameroon, Mexico, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Serbia and Germany joined Italy, Cuba, Brazil, Russia, Puerto Rico, Argentina, USA, France and Poland in the second round after managing to finish amongst the top three in their respective pools. A total of 24 teams were split into six groups in the first round of this 15 day competition where teams from each group played each other once with only the top three teams in each group advancing.
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Pool A in Milan
Japan beat Egypt 3-2 (32-34, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-13)
Italy beat Iran 3-2 (25-21, 25-10, 21-25, 26-28, 15-13))
Japan gave themselves every chance of staying on in the 2010 Men’s World Championship with an exceptional come-from-behind win over Egypt in the opening match in Milan. After two defeats to Italy and Iran on the two first days, Japan was looking at their worst finish in a FIVB Men’s World Championship. However, a miraculous victory gave life to their campaign with usual scoering super powers Kunihiro Shimizu and Ahmed Abdelhay top scoring with 26 points. "There were many reasons for today’s win, among them the wonderful atmosphere of the members of the team,” Japan captain Kota Yamamura said. “Furthermore serving and blocking were key points for the match."
In the night game, Italy top the group with their third win from as many matches but had to hold off a determined Iranian side who were searching for their second win in the group and a chance to keep their World Championship hopes alive. “We played really well but considering the difficulties we had during the second set, we do not deserve to advance to the second round,” Iran captain Ali Reza Nadi said.
Pool B in Verona
Spain beat Tunisia 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 25-27, 25-23)
Cuba beat Brazil 3-2 (34-32, 18-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12).
With both teams yet to record a win, Spain, who had never lost to Tunisia previously in FIVB competition, proved to be too good for Tunisia to claim the third spot in the group and a spot in the second round. “The first set was remarkable because they put us in a spot of bother,” Spain coach Julio Velasco said. “It certainly represented a step up in improvement because we will now face stronger teams.”
The best match of Pool B in Verona PalaOlimpia was attended and cheered by more than 7,000 fans as Cuba overwhelmed Brazil to hand the defending two-time world champions their first defeat in 15 matches. Witrh the win, Cuba booked tickets for the second round in Milan, while Brazil will play in Ancona and Spain in Catania. “This match was an anticipated great finale,” Brazil captain Giba said. “Two of the best teams in this Championship were part of a great Volleyball show. The victory tonight wasn’t important only to get the top of the ranking of this group but also to get the chance of a next “easier” second phase group.”
Pool C in Modena
Cameroon beat Australia 3-1 (21-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-19)
Russia beat Puerto Rico 3-2 (21-25, 25-14, 25-21, 23-25, 15-11)
Cameroon overcame a one-set deficit to outlast Australia for its first victory in Pool C and first ever win at the FIVB World Championships, not withstanding consolation finals in their first match against Australia in FIVB competitions. The loss sent the winless Australia out of the tournament while the team from Central Africa travels to Ancona. Cameroon beat Venezuela in a consolation final for 13-16 spots at the 1990 Men's World Championship, which represents their only appearance in Volleyball's premier event prior to this edition. “You can’t imagine what this victory means for people in Africa,” said an emotional Peter Nonnenbraich, the German coach of Cameroon who choked at the press conference and broke into tears.
Russia finished Pool C with an undefeated record with their mammoth five-set win over Puerto Rico, who finished second with two wins and a defeat. Semen Poltavskiy scored 22 points for Russia.
“We came with the idea of giving to everyone the chance to play,” Russia coach Daniele Bagnoli said. “We have worked very hard and I gave some rest to four players that play most of the time.”
Pool D in Reggio Calabria
Mexico beat Venezuela 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-20)
USA beat Argentina 3-1 (22-25, 27-25, 25-22, 25-20)
Mexico used the artistry of setter Pedro Rangel as well as the sharp spikes of veteran opposite Gerardo Contreras and powerful wing spiker Carlos Guerra to cruise past Venezuela and clinch third place in the group ahead of Venezuela who exit the tournament winless. "I am very happy for the win,” Mexico coach Jorge Lopez Azair said. “We played very well. We know we are a competitive team and could do well in this World Championship.”
USA fought back from a set behind to outlast Argentina to win the deciding match in Pool D with captain Will Priddy top scoring with 20 points. “I am very happy for the victory,” USA coach Alan Knipe said. “Argentina put us under pressure most of the match, especially with their very fast attacks. Our goal was to win and qualify for the next phase but we must continue working to improve even more.”
Pool E in Turin
Czech Republic beat Bulgaria 3-1 (25-23, 27-25, 28-30, 27-25)
France beat China 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-19)
The Czech Republic, who have not played in the Men’s World Championship since 1990, clinched a place in the second round of the 2010 FIVB Men's World Championship by defeating 2006 bronze medalists Bulgaria in four tough sets. "We are happy because we beat Bulgaria, it's a great goal for us,” Czech Republic captain Ondrej Hudecek said. “We have waited for this moment for a long time and finally we did it.”
France defeated China to advance to Milan for the second round as the top seed in Pool E, undefeated in three matches in Turin. France played 11 of its 12 players suited for the match with eight different players scoring at least one point. "We are very happy to close the pool with a great 3-0 win,” France captain Olivier Kieffer said. “As well as the fact that many young players also played the match,”
Pool F in Trieste
Germany beat Canada 3-0 (27-25, 25-22, 25-20)
Poland beat Serbia 3-1 (25-19, 25-18, 21-25, 25-23)
Despite a continued lack of consistency Germany beat Canada in straight sets to register their first victory of the tournament and keep alive their chances of reaching the next stage of the competition. The turning point came towards the end of the first set when Canada missed a couple of set balls, after which the “Canucks” failed to find their way back into the match. “It was a very good game for us, even though we felt the pressure since the loser was going to be out of contention for the next round;” Germany captain Björn Andrae said. “We always stayed very positive and I am proud of the attitude my guys showed on court.”
The much awaited game in Pool F starring two of the strongest teams in the international Volleyball arena did not really develop into the battle thousands of fans had hoped for, as Serbia did not always play at full speed, allowing Poland to claim a comfortable finish as winners of Pool F.
Pool A (Milan): Italy 6, Egypt 4, Japan 4, Iran 4.
Pool B (Verona): Cuba 6, Brazil 5, Spain 4, Tunisia 3.
Pool C (Modena): Russia 6, Puerto Rico 5, Cameroon 4, Australia 3.
Pool D (Reggio Calabria): USA 6, Argentina 5, Mexico 4, Venezuela 3.
Pool E (Turin): France 6, Czech Republic 5, Bulgaria 4, China 3.
Pool F (Trieste): Poland 6, Serbia 4, Germany 4, Canada 4.
Highest Scorers By Day
Day 1: 28 points by Antonin Rouzier (FRA) in France’s 3-2 win over the Czech Republic in Turin.
Day 2: 27 points by Maxim Mikhaylov (RUS) in Russia’s 3-1 win over Australia in Modena
Day 3: 28 Fernando Hernandez (CUB) in Cuba’s 3-2 win over Brazil in Verona
Highest Set Score
34-32 (EGY v JPN in Pool A) (CUB v Brazil in Pool B) Both matches splayed on September 27.
Tournament Top Scorers
65 Jean Patrice Ndaki Mboulet (CMR)
64 Kunihiro Shimizu (JPN)
62 Hector Soto (PUR)
61 Antonin Rouzier (FRA)
60 Matey Kaziyski (BUL)
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