Ancona, Italy, October 2, 2010 – Bulgaria upset defending champions Brazil 25-18, 25-20, 25-20 on Saturday night in the concluding match in second round Pool N, played out in front of 6,050 fans at the PalaRossini in Ancona.
With three teams ranked in the world's top seven, the 'pool of death' had already claimed the hopes of Poland, meaning Bulgaria and Brazil were already sure of their progress and that their meeting simply determined which third-round group the two powerhouse teams would play in. Bulgaria, who had finished a disappointing third in their first-round group, will now compete in Pool Q in Florence, while Brazil move into Pool R.
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Bulgaria's scoring was led by Tsvetan Sokolov's 15 points through 13 spikes and two aces. Valentin Bratoev added 12 points, with Brazil captain Giba recording a team-high eight points and Leandro Vissotto and Rodrigao seven apiece. Silvano Prandi's Bulgaria side showed a superiority in attack (55 to 31 percent) and receiving (67 to 38 percent), with 10 aces and seven blocks exacting 27 errors by their adversaries.
Bulgaria's win snapped a five-match losing streak against Brazil, including four losses in this year's FIVB World League. Brazil still hold a commanding 25-13 all-time record against Bulgaria and have won eight of their 13 World Championship matches.
Knowing a spot in the third round was assured, both teams altered their starting lineups from their first Pool N matches. Bulgaria had five new starters as they rested offensive threats Vladimir Nikolov (67 points in the tournament) and Matey Kaziyski (60 points). Brazil featured three new players including star man Giba and Theo at setter in place of a sick Bruno, who had moved into the starting lineup when Marlon became unavailable at the start of the tournament due to illness.
Bulgaria made a good showing at the start of the match with Sokolov looking effective in attack. Brazil were working hard to rack up points, but seemed to be swimming upstream and the eastern Europeans progressed comfortably through the set with five aces and two blocks, running out 25-18 winners. Giba and his team-mates recovered some precision in the second set, but Sokolov kept Bulgaria level with his serving (7-7). Although Brazil’s Vissotto helped his side into a 12-9 lead, the South Americans' game failed to ignite and Bulgaria pulled ahead 16-15.
With an ace by Konstantin Mitev, the 'green and whites' moved into a 21-18 lead and went on to win the set 25-20. The third set continued down the same one-way street with Bulgaria on top in every aspect of the game – blocking, serving, spiking. Brazil tried to come back and narrowed the gap to two points at 22-20, but Bulgaria's Bratoev closed the match 25-20 after a mere 69 minutes.
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