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FIVB Men's World Championship Japan 2006
 
Match Description
 
Serbia-Montenegro power past Russia
 

Serbia-Montenegro captain Nikola Grbic revs up his team
November 17, 2006, Sendai, Japan — Serbia-Montenegro showcased a
devastating display of attacking verve to run out 3-0 winners against Russia in Pool D on Friday.
The architects of the 25-22, 25-18, 25-23 victory were Ivan Miljkovic and
Goran Vujevic, with the Russians struggling to cope with the winning-team's high-tempo attack.
The clash of the Pool D big guns may have come on the first day, but both
teams showed no sign of cobwebs as they hammered at each other from the get-go.
Nothing less was expected from such a mouth-watering match up: the six-times world champions Russia, ranked third, against the 2002 world championships runners-up Serbia-Montenegro, ranked fourth.
Russia’s twin towers of Stanislav Dineykin (215 cm) and Alexey Kazakov (217 cm) began the game by rattling in some awe-inspiring spikes, but Serbia-Montenegro soon proved they were no slouches in the attacking department, either.
Neither team gave an inch as the first set stayed close in the early stages, but Serbia-Montenegro found a little consistency to head into the second TTO 16-13 ahead.
Serbia-Montenegro star player Miljkovic started quietly, but made his mark on the game with a massive spike to put his team 19-16 ahead as both teams kept up an incredible tempo of relentless attacking.
It was breathless stuff.
Russia coach Zoran Gajic — who is from Serbia-Montenegro — sensed the set was slipping away at 22-19 to the opponents and called a timeout, but it was to no avail.
Vujevic stepped up for Serbia-Montenegro to give them set point at 24-21 with spike and then was substituted for Slobodan Boskan.
Russia won the next point but Vujevic came straight back on to dispatch a
thunderous spike and give his team the first set, 25-22.
Vujevic started the second set as he finished the first — in a no-nonsense mood.
The 33-year-old steamed down the middle for a cracking winner that made it 6-2 to his team and they went into the first TTO 8-3 ahead.
Vladimir Grbic wasn’t to be outdone in the monster spike stakes, though, and it was his piledriver that sent his team into the second TTO 16-11 ahead.
Russia continued to battle but couldn’t get to grips on their opponents. Gajic called a timeout as he looked at a 20-14 reverse, but things didn’t get better and Serbia-Montenegro kept their distance to close out the set 25-18 on a Russian defensive mistake.
Alexey Kuleshov looked as though he wasn’t in the giving-up frame of mind and pushed the Russians forward in the third set with some good attacking play, while captain Semen Poltavsky finally found his range with some precision strikes.
Vujevic seemed to tire for Serbia-Montenegro and his influence on the game waned a little, but the younger Miljkovic simply took over the responsibilities of being Russia’s tormenter-in-chief.
His spikes weren’t clean winners but the enormous power generated carried too much of a sting for Russia’s men at the net and Miljkovic and Co. soon found themselves 18-13 ahead.
Russia pulled back to 23-22, but Serbia-Montenegro edged to match point and after losing out on the first point up stepped Miljkovic — who else? — to crash home the crucial point that gave his side a big victory.