Tampere, Finland, June 26, 2009 - Finland scored a great
victory in an exciting five-set thriller against Venezuela in a World League
home match at Tampere Ice Hall.
Finland eventually won the final set 27-25 in a
tiebreaker that took over a half an hour to play.
The Finnish spectators shout like mad during the last
twenty minutes of the match and they stand every time Finland has a match ball.
When Finland wins, the crowd goes almost crazy.
Finland has now two wins from five matches and Venezuela
one win against Finland in Caracas.
The playing was sometimes quite nervous from both of the
teams and they made a lot of easy mistakes. At time to time the game was
however on a very high level.
The Finns had to play without their captain Tuomas
Sammelvuo because of an injury he got in the morning practice on Friday. Spiker
Mikko Oivanen was the best scorer with 22 points. Olli Kunnari made 19 points.
The best scorer in Venezuelan team was Luis Diaz with 20
points. Ivan Marquez and Thomas Ereu took 17 points.
In the first set both teams started attacking well and at
the first technical time out Venezuela was leading 8-7. Then the Finns made
some mistakes in their spikes and Venezuela was leading at 16-13 although South
Americans made a lot of mistakes in their serves. The problems in the Finnish
attack continued all the way till the end and Venezuelans won the set easily
Finland started the second set like a new team taking 4-0
lead and Venezuelan head coach Jose Gutierrez had to take a time out already at
this point. Soon it was 8-2, 14-8 and 18-12. Then Venezuelans took three
straight points thanks to the difficult serves of Ivan Marguez. Then Luis Diaz
served also very well and Venezuela closed the gap at 20-20. The end of the set
was very tight, but it went finally to Finns by 26-24.
The even fight continued in the third set. Venezuela took
the lead 8-7 at the first technical time out and was leading also at 16-13
thanks to a couple of good blocks. Venezuela was slightly in control, but at the
last moment Finland started a real fight and equaled the set at 24-24. Then
Venezuela took the two last points and that was that for the third set.
Finland started the fourth set with excellent serves and
attacks and took a comfortable seven point lead at 10-3. The set continued the
same way and Finns stayed in a strong lead 16-7 and 20-10. Venezuelans lost
their fighting spirit almost totally and Finland won the set very easily 25-13.
The last set is often a thriller and so it was also this
time. And a huge one. When the set numbers were 25-25 everything was still
totally open! Then Finnish center Jukka Lehtonen spiked two last points and
Finland was the winner.