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 Press Release
Defending Olympic and World League champions USA sent packing after loss to Russia

The Russian block was constant headache for Team USA

Belgrade, Serbia, July 23, 2009 – Defending champions USA became the first victim of the 2009 World League Final Round in Belgrade when it lost its second straight match in Pool E today, leaving it out of the running for a medal. Russia crushed the Olympic champions in straight sets to book their place in the semifinals.

Brazil fully justified their favourites tag with a straightforward victory over Cuba, acquiring their first three points at the Final Six in Belgrade.

Idle Argentina, meanwhile, needs to take maximum points from Brazil on Friday to have any hope of advancing to the semifinals, while USA’s defeat handed Serbia a free pass to the Final Four on its rest day.



Brazil showed that it is the team to beat at the 2009 World League with a relatively easy win over Cuba, acquiring its first three points at the Final Six in Belgrade.
They were an untouchable opponent with fabulous blocks and great services, especially on important points to end the sets, while Cuba was able to respond only in the second set, the only frame they won.
Cuba started the first match of the second day better than the Brazilians, and led by 3 points at the first technical timeout on three errors by Brazil. However, the top-ranked team in the FIVB world rankings significantly improved their attack - and their blocking in particular - for which the Cubans had no solution. Brazil won 7 points in a row, turning the tide to their advantage (12-8).
Cuba had a host of problems with their attack, while Brazil consolidated their game and cruised to a 25-18 win. Brazil scored eight points on blocks alone in the first set, with Lucas Saatkamp and Murilo Endres scoring three apiece.
The second set was completely different. Brazil took a 10-7 lead thanks to some superb play from opposite Leandro Vissotto, but the Cuban coach Orlando Samuels then changed setters, introducing Yoandri Díaz Carmenate for Raydel Hierrezuelo Aguirre and after an ace from Joandry Leal and a block from Wilfredo Leon, Cuba took a 17-15 lead.
But Brazil clawed back with two aces from Murilo and an excellent attack to make it 20-18. Captain Roberlandy Simon lifted Cuba back into the lead at 22-21 and with two excellent attacks from Leal, they attained their first set ball at 24-22, which they duly scored on a service error from Giba.
Brazil rushed out to a 5-2 lead in the third set and remained in control until the very end. They returned to the tactics that had led them to victory earlier in the tournament and they won seven points on serves alone, killing the Cuban reception.
Despite some substitutions, Cuba could do nothing to withstand the onslaught, and Brazil won the set 25-17 on three straight aces.
The pattern continued in the fourth set. Brazil took a 4-point lead into the first TTO before stretching the advantage to 5 by the second TTO. Only then did Cuba improve its defense and attack, closing the gap to 18-17 before the Brazilian service game decided the set once again. Reserve player Thiago Soares Alves exerted his influence once again, bagging three aces to set up Rodrigo Santana to close the set 25-19 for the victory and Brazil's first three points in the Final Round in Belgrade.

"We started with a lot of adrenalin and a very aggressive approach,” Giba said. “There was good teamwork and we played very well this evening but we still have four consecutive matches to play."



Russia defeated Team USA 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-23) to seal its spot in the semifinals of the 2009 FIVB World League, while simultaneously eliminating the defending champions from the medal round.
The win also gave idle Serbia a free pass to the semifinals of the elite international Men's tournament.
The Russians came out storming, taking a quick 5-1 lead before sustaining the advantage all the way to the second technical timeout (16-11).
But the Beijing Olympic champions improved their defense and blocking, reducing the gap to 17-15 before eventually tying the score at 20-20. But an excellent performance from Maxim Mikhaylov put an end to the comeback. Mikhaylov scored his sixth point of the set to give Russia a 2-point lead at 22-20, which they rode out for a 25-22 victory. Mikhaylov wound up scoring seven points in the frame, with Sergey Tetyukhin adding 5.
The teams were equal in the second set until 12-12 when the Russians took the initiative. Russia coach Daniele Bagnoli sent on Semen Poltavskiy in place of Mikhaylov, who, with a couple of extreme attacks and services, led his team to a 19-14 lead. That forced U.S. coach Alan Knipe to call for a timeout, which appeared to give the Americans a second wind. But as in the previous set, the Olympic Champions came close (19-18), but could not overtake the Russians. The experienced Tetyukhin stopped the comeback and Yuri Berezhko bagged the first set ball to win the second set 25-22.
Russia continued to lead in the third set as well, despite being under constant threat by the Americans. Following a counterattack from Tethyukhin, Russia made it a 4-point difference, before the U.S. succeeded in leveling the score (18-18) thanks to an excellent Sean Rooney. The Americans had a chance to turn the result to their advantage but David Lee made a mistake in the transition to make it 20-20. The game was played point by point after that until 24-23, when the Russians scored their first set and match ball (25-23) after a failed attack from Rooney.

"We had a good process in the World League but a better end was expected,” said USA coach Alan Knipe. “We leave knowing a lot more about our team and the others as well. A lot of work has to be done and we have to be able to add some more experience with other players and develop into a better Volleyball unit."


Match descriptions, press conferences and free photo for media purposes are available at



Former Italian Volleyball world champion Andrea Zorzi is in Belgrade to blog on the FIVB website with his project “Follow Me.” A click away from the FIVB homepage, “Follow Me” will track all the technical and backstage aspects of the World League Final Round with videos and articles. An interview with the USA player Scott Touzinsky will be on line on Friday, to be enjoyed by fans and media. The press conferences will be available as well.



Wednesday, July 22

Argentina – Cuba 1-3 (22-25, 25-22, 24-26, 24-26)

Serbia – USA 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-22)


Thursday, July 23

Cuba – Brazil 1-3 (18-25, 25-23, 17-25, 19-25)

USA – Russia 0-3 (22-25, 22-25, 23-25)


Friday, July 24

17.30: Brazil – Argentina

20.30: Russia – Serbia


Saturday, July 25

17.30: Semifinal

20.30: Semifinal


Sunday, July 26

17.00: Bronze medal match

20.00: Gold medal match

More press releases
27/07/2009 Brazil is 2009 World League champion
26/07/2009 Press conferences in video for first time on
25/07/2009 Brazil to battle Serbia for 2009 World League gold medal
24/07/2009 Brazil, Cuba, Russia, Serbia to battle for medals in World League semifinals
23/07/2009 World League Final Round in Belgrade to be broadcast worldwide
22/07/2009 Serbia, Cuba off to winning starts in World League Final Round
22/07/2009 Serbian Olympic gold medalists honored in Belgrade before World League match
21/07/2009 Belgrade ready to host World League Final Round: Six teams to battle for crown
19/07/2009 Final Round distribution set for 2009 World League
15/07/2009 Four Final Six spots left to fill in last round of World League Pool play
12/07/2009 Bulgaria, Finland, France turn up the heat in Round 5 of World League
8/07/2009 Brazilian defeat gives hope to World League rivals in Round 5
8/07/2009 Venezuela to host Brazil with revamped lineup
6/07/2009 Finland gives Brazil wake-up call in Round 4 of World League
1/07/2009 It's now or never for laggards in Round 4 of World League
28/06/2009 Brazil continues to set pace in 2009 World League
24/06/2009 Crunch weekend ahead for all teams in Round 3 of 2009 World League
22/06/2009 Brazil stands tall as only undefeated team in 2009 World League
19/06/2009 Russia’s coach curious about hot weather and home crowd in Havana
18/06/2009 Horstink to play true home match against China in Apeldoorn
17/06/2009 Three teams aim to stay unbeaten as World League enters second weekend
15/06/2009 Brazil, Russia, Cuba go unbeaten on opening weekend of World League
12/06/2009 Anticipation builds in Ahoy
11/06/2009 Dutch hoping to relive World League glory
9/06/2009 Cuba ready for another run at World League title
8/06/2009 Press conference kicks off World League in Poland
3/06/2009 Japan announces its squad for World League 2009
28/04/2009 Italy switches 2009 FIVB World League match from Reggio Calabria to Florence
16/04/2009 Venezuela hires Herrera to coach men's team
9/04/2009 FIVB makes 2009 FIVB World League team lists available

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