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Olympic and world champions take step towards semis

Bulgaria were in fine form in their four-set win over Spain in their third-round opener.

Rome, Italy, October 4, 2010 – USA, Brazil, Serbia and Bulgaria all took a big step towards qualifying for the positions 1-4 semifinals of the FIVB Men's World Championship Italy 2010 by winning their opening third-round matches on Monday.

Olympic champions USA were in awesome form as they beat France 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-23) while defending world champions Brazil fought off the stern challenge of the Czech Republic in an outstanding five-setter 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-8) in Rome. Meanwhile in Florence, Serbia beat Argentina 3-1 (25-15, 21-25, 25-22, 25-18) and Bulgaria were too good for Spain winning 3-1 (25-21, 27-25, 26-28, 25-18).

The third round consists of four pools of three teams with the winners of each pool advancing to the semifinals for 1-4, the runners-up proceeding to the 5-8 semifinals and third-placed sides playing the 9-12 semifinals. USA lead Pool O ahead of France and Italy. Pool R is led by Brazil followed by the Czech Republic and Germany. In Florence, Serbia head Pool P ahead of Argentina and Russia while Bulgaria top Pool Q ahead of Spain and Cuba.

Pool O in Rome
USA beat France 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-23)
Olympic champions USA overpowered France in straight sets to open their third-round campaign in style at the Palalottomatica in the Italian capital. In what was an awesome display from the No3-ranked team in the world, Clayton Stanley scored 14 points including four blocks and four aces while Sean Rooney and David Lee both scored 11 points and William Priddy contributed 10. France, ranked 12th in the world, had no answer to USA's power and precision. Gerald Hardy-Dessources brought home nine points for Les Tricolores including five blocks, while Stephane Antiga also added nine points. The convincing win was USA's 13th in 20 matches against France and gives the 1986 world champions a strong chance of finishing at least eighth in the tournament, which would represent their best finish at the Men's World Championship since 1994 when they finished third. The Americans out-blocked France 17-7 –Lee compiling five blocks and Priddy contributing also four – while also dominating the serving with a 5-1 advantage in serving aces. "Today we did not play well and did not manage to demonstrate our full potential," France's Guillaume Samica said. "When you reach this phase of the World Championship, you cannot afford to make mistakes. The United States played an incredible match, and we unfortunately had to succumb especially without two of our most important players, (Hubert) Henno and (Antonin) Rouzier."

Pool R in Rome
Brazil beat the Czech Republic 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-8)
The evening match in the Eternal City saw Brazil defeat the Czech Republic, for only the seventh time in 18 meetings. It was a thrilling contest in which Brazil welcomed back setter Marlon after illness before ending the four-game winning streak of a Czech team who will face Germany at 17:00 (local time) on Tuesday. The blocking of Brazil was impressive the whole night but it really improved during the last two sets when they rallied back from a one-set deficit. The world's No1-ranked team compiled 16 blocks against five. Murilo Endres was the match and the day's top scorer with 25 points including four blocks, to lead four Brazilian players in double figures. Peter Platenik top-scored for the Czechs with 19 points. "I am sad like my players," Czech Republic coach Jan Sbodova said. "It was a very close match and we played at a very high level for the first three sets, then Brazil showed why they are one of the best teams in the world. It was very difficult to overcome the difference of three, four points in the fourth set with the spikes of Murilo and Dante. We still played well but they were better than us."

Pool P in Florence
Serbia beat Argentina 3-1 (25-15, 21-25, 25-22, 25-18)
Serbia, ranked fourth in the world, swept away Argentina, who are ranked five places lower in ninth, in a repeat of their 2010 World League victory, providing a spectacular victory for the fans at the Nelson Mandela Forum. Serbian captain Nikola Grbic and his teammates confirmed their ambitions to reach the semifinals with Ivan Miljkovic their best scorer with 20 points followed by Nikola Kovacevic with 12. Argentina, who committed 40 errors to Serbia's 24, had the tournament's top scorer, Facundo Conte, to thank for extending the contest to four sets as he contributed 16 points, while Federico Pereyra added 13. The win was Serbia's 14th in 18 matches against Argentina. "I am pretty satisfied because we won easily even if I think Argentina are the revelation of this World Championship, together with the Czech Republic," Grbic said. "We have a lot of experience and this was the element that made the difference. I like Argentina's way of playing because it reminds me of Yugoslavia in Atlanta 1996."

Pool Q in Florence
Bulgaria beat Spain 3-1 (25-21, 27-25, 26-28, 25-18).
Bulgaria beat Spain for the 12th time in 14 matches as Julio Velasco's men failed to keep up with Silvano Prandi's side who were in outstanding form. Bulgaria's Todor Aleksiev scored a match-high 18 points with 16 spikes and two blocks, while Matey Kaziyski turned in 17 points with 16 spikes and an ace. Sergio Noda led the scoring for Spain with 13 spikes and four blocks for 17 points, and teammate Iban Perez added 16 points with 14 spikes and two aces. Bulgaria held a 15-10 advantage in blocks, while Spain managed a 5-1 ace margin. "I knew that my players were nervous today. Their approach was tense," Bulgaria coach Prandi said. "Bulgaria are stronger than us, no doubt, but we can learn from stronger teams," Spain coach Velasco said. "Bulgaria improved very much with Silvano, above all in blocking and that made the difference."

Match Schedule
Oct 5 
Pool R (Rome): Germany-Czech Republic 17:00 
Pool O (Rome): USA-Italy 21:00 
Pool P (Florence): Russia-Serbia 17:00 
Pool Q (Florence): Cuba-Spain 21:00 

Oct 6
Pool R (Rome): Brazil-Germany 17:00.
Pool O (Rome): Italy-France 21:00
Pool P (Florence): Argentina-Russia 17:00
Pool Q (Florence): Bulgaria-Cuba 21:00

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 points by Fernando Hernandez (CUB) in Cuba’s 3-2 win over Brazil in Verona
Day 4: 24 points by Gyrgy Grozer (GER) in Germany’s 3-0 win over Puerto Rico in Catania
Day 5: 30 points by Iban Perez (ESP) in Spain’s 3-2 win over Russia in Catania
Day 6: 23 points by Ahmed Abdelhay (EGY) in Egypt’s win against Spain in Catania
Day 7: 25 points by Murilo (BRA) in Brazil’s win over the Czech Republic in Rome

Highest Set Score
34-32 (EGY v JPN  in Pool A) (CUB v BRA in Pool B) Both matches played on September 27.

Tournament Top Scorers
112 Facundo Conte (ARG)
107 Clayton Stanley (USA)
106 Iban Perez (ESP)
97 Peter Platenik (CZE)
94 Vladimir Nikolov (BUL)
94 Jan Stokr (CZE)

Hubert Henno (FRA) turns 34 on Oct 6
Jochen Schops (GER) turns 27 on Oct 8
David Konecny (CZE) turns 28 on Oct 10

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Press Contact - FIVB Press Director Richard Baker,
Email:     Mobile. +39 334 914 1332                  

Coming soon
The FIVB Women’s World Championship Japan 2010 (October 29 - November 14, 2010)
The FIVB Club World Championships (December 14-21, 2010)  in Doha, Qatar
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships (June 17-26) Rome, Italy

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FIVB Press Department Director - Richard Baker
Mobile. +39 334 914 1332

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