Catania, Italy, October 2, 2010 – Spain claimed top spot in Pool I and with it a third-round place at the FIVB Men's World Championship following a 3-1 (25-20, 28-30, 25-16, 25-19) win over Egypt on Saturday.
The victory allows Julio Velasco's victorious side to achieve the goal of a spot among the top 12 teams in the competition. Spain established a 15-8 difference in the blocking category and blanked their opponent 5-0 in service winners. Iban Perez led Spain's scoring with 22 points, including three blocks and one ace, while Julian Garcia-Torres compiled six blocks among his 11 tallies. Manuel Sevillano contributed 13 points while Jorge Fernandez and Sergio Noda added 11 and 10 respectively.
Egypt's Ahmed Abdelhay was the overall top scorer with 23 points, while Mohamed Badawy charted 14.
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After an even opening to the first set, Perez’s laser-shot ace and a powerful spike from Noda gave Spain an 8-6 advantage. Egypt battled back to 10-10, following some good offensive work from Abdelhay but Spain responded and took a four-point lead (16-12) thanks to a parallel spike from Perez and a Fernandez ace. Egypt coach Antonio Giacobbe called for a timeout with his side 18-14 behind and sent on Ahmed Afifi 'Youseff' in place of Saleh Youssef 'Fathy' but Spain stayed on course for a 25-20 win with Perez scoring for set-point with a thundering crossed spike from zone two.
Egypt pushed at the beginning of the second set and reached the First Technical Timeout (FTT) leading 8-7. At 8-8, Abdelhay's attack was out of bounds, however, and Fernandez scored with a block. Egypt countered with consecutive spikes by Fathy and Abdelhay to even the score at 12-12 and they went 16-15 in front on a Spanish error. It was now neck and neck. Spain stole ahead behind a spike of Perez but Salas then made a mistake on his serve. With Abdelhay continuing to pound the other side, Egypt prevailed 30-28 when Spain’s attack was too long.
In the third set Perez's efforts on the offence helped Spain into a two-point lead at the FTT. With the margin stretched to 12-8, Giacobbe called in his players to try and restore their focus. The Egyptians were helped out by Sevillano's mistake on a serve, but could not take advantage because of their own service errors. At the second stop, the Spanish led 16-12 and when the gap extended to seven points, Giacobbe played his 'Raouf' card, sending on Mahmoud Abd El Kader. He responded well, but it was too late to save the set, Spain taking it 25-16.
Raouf sought to assist Abdelhay at the beginning of the fourth set, but with Spain making life awkward, Abdelhay continued to struggle with his serve. A block by Noda combined with an attack by Torres brought the Europeans to 6-4 and they were now well on top. By the two technical timeouts, the score was 8-4 and then 16-10. With Abdelhay seemingly out of gas and Spain landing missiles from everywhere, the gap grew to 22-14. Gustavo Saucedo scored for point 24 and, following a timeout called by Velasco to calm his players down, the Spanish closed the set in 24 minutes.
FIVB Press Department Director - Richard Baker
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