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FIVB World League 2006
Match Description
Bulgaria upset Brazil in opening match

Bulgaria's libero Teodor Salparov celebrates the sensational victory

Bulgaria took control of the first set with good combination play on both sides of the court on spikes and some solid blocking and edged to an 8-4 lead at the first technical time-out. In an attempt to redress the balance, Bernardo Rezende called a time-out at 14-8 down and made two substitutions immediately afterwards.

Martin Stoev's side nevertheless managed to maintain their advantage up to the second technical time-out with a 16-10 lead. Brazil seemed to suffer from a lack of precision in their spikes, being called out several times and relying on Bulgaria's reception errors to make up the deficit. After two such spiking errors, Rezende called a second time out at 18-10 and made two further substitutions, which helped the team to recover to 19-13. Bulgaria withstood the pressure and managed to close the first set 25-17.

Brazil blocked into out on a couple of balls at the start of the second set, but the teams shared the first ten points equally before a Brazilian service error gave Bulgaria the serve and a chance to draw two points clear at 7-5. Brazil replied quickly with two excellent blocks in quick succession to draw level, before Bulgaria edged ahead to 8-7 at the first technical time-out.

A block by Andre Heller after the time-out gave Brazil the lead for the first time at 9-8, but Bulgaria were unrelenting and edged away again before Rezende called a time-out at 12-10, clearly unhappy with his team's performance.

Bulgaria continued to lead at the second technical time-out (16-12) but Brazil came out fighting to draw within one point at 16-17, before Bulgaria widened the gap once again. As Brazil drew closer, a well placed spike by veteran Vladimir Nikolov again put Bulgaria two points ahead. An excellent spike from Brazil's Anderson allowed the Canaries to draw level at 22-22 and a reply by Bulgaria's Matey Kaziyski and another that bounced out off the Brazilian block caused Bernardo Rezende to call a time-out at match point 24-22. Bulgaria left an easy ball after this to allow Brazil to close the gap before Martin Stoev called his first time-out of the set to reorganise his team. Bulgaria responded with a spike down the centre to take the second set 25-23.

Brazil entered the third set having made only three points off blocks and Bulgaria took the first point off another ball bouncing off a three-man Brazilian block out of court. Bernardo Rezende called his first time-out after only three points of the third set, all of which had been won by Bulgaria. After Bulgaria had drawn 4 points clear, Brazil replied to draw 5-5 before Martin Stoev called a time-out. A cheeky tip-over by Bulgaria's Andrey Zhekov, followed by a precise spike and a misjudged team call for out by Brazil allowed Bulgaria to extend to 8-5 at the first technical time-out. Although Brazil once again came close to levelling, Bulgaria managed to hold the lead through to the second technical time-out at 16-13, which they came out of with a spectacular block to consolidate the lead. Bulgaria then held out to manage what no other team had done so far in the competition: not only to beat Brazil, but to do so in three straight sets: 25-17, 25-23, 25-20.