Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 23, 2008 – Two 3-0 matches opened the Final Round of the 2008 FIVB World League in Rio. Brazil beat Russia, while Serbia did not face many problems against USA. Winners of the last five editions of the FIVB World League, reigning Olympic and World Champion Brazil debuted perfectly in the Final Round. In a meeting of the Volleyball titans, the team coached by Bernardo Rezende, cheered on by more than 10,500 fans, overcame Russia 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-15) at Maracanazinho Gymnasium. The best scorers of the match were Dante, of Brazil, and Semen Poltavskiy, of Russia, with 16 points each.
“We cannot face this result as a real test for Brazil,” said Bernardo Rezende, the Brazilian Head Coach. “Russia made many mistakes and did not play in the way they use to do. We need to keep improving.”
Russian Head Coach Vladimir Alekno replied: “It is always the same story when we play against Brazil. We dispute point by point and, in the end, they go ahead. We made many mistakes on serving and this was the difference.”
In the second match of the day, looking for their first title in FIVB World League, the teams of Serbia and USA opened Pool F. At the end of the match, the European team won 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-17) and added their first two points in the rankings. The spiker Ivan Miljkovic of Serbia led all scorers with 16 points. American Clayton Stanley scored 10 points.
Serbian Captain Nikola Grbic said: “I am pretty satisfied with our game, especially in block and defense. I really hope we can keep this rhythm until Beijing.”
A sad Thomas Hoff, USA Captain, said: “The biggest disappointment to me is the fact that we did not play as a team. We need to recover the way of playing we had before. Now we will have to clear our mind to play against Poland. I don’t want to talk about tactics; we have to look at our side first.”
On Thursday, the wild card Japan and Poland will make their debut in Rio facing, respectively, Russia and USA.
Full match descriptions, statistics, free photos for media use can be found at www.fivb.org
Thursday, July 24
10:00 Japan – Russia
13:15 USA – Poland
Friday, July 25
10:00 Brazil – Japan
13:15 Poland – Serbia
Saturday, July 26
10:00 Semi-final 1st F – 2nd E
13:15 Semi-final 1st E – 2nd F
Sunday, July 27
09:30 Bronze-medal match
12:30 Gold-medal match
“Follow me” by Andrea Zorzi
The FIVB website is enriched with a special blog written by former World Champion Andrea Zorzi. Video interviews and articles are displayed every day from Rio, showing to all Volleyball fans what is happening backstage at FIVB’s premier annual Men’s event. On line now the interview with Serbian Head Coach Igor Kolakovic.