Rome, Italy, October 5, 2010 – Serbia became the first team to qualify for the FIVB Men's World Championship Italy 2010 semifinals with a stirring 3-1 (28-26, 16-25, 25-21, 27-25) win over Russia in Florence on Tuesday. The victory was their second from as many matches in Pool P leaving them top of the group with Argentina and Russia left to contest the minor positions on Wednesday.
In Tuesday's other matches, hosts Italy beat USA 3-1 (14-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-22) in Rome to leave them just needing a win against France on Wednesday to join Serbia. The early match in Rome saw Germany beat a tired Czech Republic side 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-13) while Cuba proved too good for Spain in Florence winning 3-1 (25-22, 15-25, 25-22, 25-22).
Wednesday's matches – the final games of the third round – feature two exciting 'quarterfinals' with Bulgaria and Cuba, both with a win apiece, facing off in Florence and Brazil and Germany, also with one win each, in action in Rome. Italy's meeting with France in Rome will determine who advances to the elite four semifinals from Pool O, with the Azzurri needing a victory to make sure. A French win will leave all three teams with one win and a loss.
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 the third-placed sides playing the 9-12 semifinals.
Pool R in Rome
Germany beat the Czech Republic 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-13)
In the opening match of the day in the Italian capital, world No11 Germany easily swept aside a Czech side visibly struggling from Monday's five-set marathon against Brazil. The victory marked only Germany's fifth win against the Czechs in 15 matches, reversing their World Championship defeat in 2006, and setting up a showdown with Brazil for the top position in Pool R and the ticket to the elite four semifinal phase. Robert Kromm scored 16 points for Raul Lozano's team, including three blocks, while Gyorgy Grozer added 15 points and captain Bjorn Andrae 11, including two blocks. Peter Platenik, the sixth best scorer in the competition, compiled 11 points for the Czech Republic. "It was our worst game of the tournament," Czech captain Ondrej Hudecek said. "It was bad in all parts of the game. We couldn't stop the German attack. Maybe it was because we lost a lot of energy in our five-set match against Brazil but really they played better than us in all departments of the game." Germany captain Andrae said: "I am really happy with the result. We concentrated on our tactics and it was really positive. We fought for every point and the Czechs were a little tired, I think. But I am really proud of my team and I hope we can continue playing this way." Looking to the Brazil match, Germany coach Lozano said: "It is going to be a very tough game against one of the best teams in history and against a great coach like Bernardo. But I also think that when we play well, we are tough to beat. I have no problems playing against Brazil and if we don't show them too much respect we can compete with them. On the field we are 12 against 12, or seven against seven, and we showed today the strength of our squad as we made changes and the level stayed the same."
Pool O in Rome
Italy beat USA 3-1 (14-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-22)
The clash of the titans between reigning Olympic champions and world No3 USA and hosts and world No5 Italy in the third round Pool B ended with a courageous victory for the home team. The Italians' success in what was regarded by many as a 'quarterfinal' – considering it pitted together the pool's two favourites – clears the way for Andrea Anastasi's team to access the elite four semifinals (bar a French upset on Wednesday) and record their best finish since winning the third of their World Championship titles in 1998. Alessandro Fei and Cristian Savani led a well-balanced Italian attack with 17 and 16 points respectively while Matej Cernic contributed 12 points. Tournament top scorer Clayton Stanley and captain Reid Priddy scored 20 and 19 points respectively for USA while Sean Rooney added 14. In the tough defensive battle at the net, the Americans prevailed 15-12. "It was a very emotional game but also a very good match with a high technical level," Italy captain Valerio Vermiglio said. "We suffered a lot during the match but stayed together and played with heart. This is one of many finals we will be playing in the next few days."
Pool P in Florence
Serbia beat Russia 3-1 (28-26, 16-25, 25-21, 27-25)
Nelson Mandela Forum hosted a spectacular match as world No4 and 2010 World League bronze medallists Serbia toppled favourites Russia, ranked second in the world and the 2010 World League silver medallists, to book a spot in the elite four semifinals. The win reversed a straight-sets loss to Russia in the 2010 World League final round and was only the 12th for Serbia in 32 matches against the most successful team in men's Volleyball. Serbia's 2-0 win-loss record earns them a berth in the semifinal round to be played October 9-10 in Rome. Ivan Miljkovic scored a match-high and day-high 26 points with 25 spikes and a block and teammate Nikola Kovacevic earned 12 spikes and three blocks for 15 points. Russian Maxim Mikhaylov did his share with 21 spikes, one block and an ace for 23 points. Serbia won the match despite giving their opponents 32 points on errors. "I was the happiest man alive when we won tonight," Serbia coach Igor Kolakovic said. "The World Championship is a great championship and I'm proud to be here." Russia coach Daniele Bagnoli said: "In this game we couldn't play well because some players had physical problems. We made too many faults, and this is why we are out of the semifinals."
Pool Q in Florence
Cuba beat Spain 3-1 (25-22, 15-25, 25-22, 25-22).
Cuba beat Spain for the 13th time in 18 matches as the world No8 won their first Pool Q match against world No 37 Spain in front of 3,500 spectators at the Nelson Mandela Forum. Spain finished with an 0-2 record in Pool Q and will now compete in the 9-12 classification phase in Florence on October 8-9; Cuba, meanwhile, will play Bulgaria on Wednesday in a 'quarterfinal' match to determine who participates in the semifinals positions 1-4 or 5-8. Robertlandy Simon top-scored for Cuba with 22 points, including a match-high eight blocks while Wilfredo Leon and Joandry Leal added 13 points apiece. Iban Perez contributed 20 points for Spain and Jorge Fernandez 11. "We wanted to go to win and we finally did it," Cuba coach Orlando Samuels said. "The team is very young and we lacked experience as people could see in the second set. At the end we took the points and we ran away with it because we were consistent, and I'm happy about it. The next game will be against Bulgaria and it will be difficult. We need to keep focused."
Match Schedule - 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 (1st Rd): 28 points by Antonin Rouzier (FRA) in France’s 3-2 win over the Czech Republic in Turin
Day 2 (1st Rd): 27 points by Maxim Mikhaylov (RUS) in Russia’s 3-1 win over Australia in Modena
Day 3 (1st Rd): 28 points by Fernando Hernandez (CUB) in Cuba’s 3-2 win over Brazil in Verona
Day 4 (2nd Rd): 24 points by Gyrgy Grozer (GER) in Germany’s 3-0 win over Puerto Rico in Catania
Day 5 (2nd Rd): 30 points by Iban Perez (ESP) in Spain’s 3-2 win over Russia in Catania
Day 6 (2nd Rd): 23 points by Ahmed Abdelhay (EGY) in Egypt’s win against Spain in Catania
Day 7 (3rd Rd): 25 points by Murilo (BRA) in Brazil’s win over the Czech Republic in Rome
Day 8 (3rd Rd): 26 points by Ivan Miljkovic (SRB) in Serbia’s win over Russia in Florence
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
127 Clayton Stanley (USA)
126 Iban Perez (ESP)
116 Ivan Miljkovic (SRB)
112 Facundo Conte (ARG)
110 Maxim Mikhaylov (RUS)
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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