Cordoba, Argentina, July 22, 2010 – In a repeat of the 2009 final, defending World League champions Brazil beat Serbia 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 18-25, 25-20, 16-14) to book a spot in the 2010 World League semifinals at Orfeo Superdomo on Thursday following on from their five-set win over Argentina on day one.
Leandro Vissotto topped Brazil’s scoring with 20 points while for Serbia Sasa Starovic scored 16.
It was a nervous start for both sides with several unforced errors littering play but when the set closed in on the business end, Serbia captain Bojan Janic led his troops superbly, producing decisive kills to give his team a surprise first set lead.
A wounded Brazil team can be the worst type to face on the Volleyball court and this proved the case in the second set. With inspirational skipper Giba in their ranks for the first time of the tournament, the eight-time champions quickly went about their work, producing miraculous saves and outstanding combinations for the likes of Vissotto and Murilo to pounce. After yesterday’s clash with coach Bernardinho, Vissotto was certainly proving his worth on this occasion, quickly racing to 10 points after two sets.
Serbia immediately started the third set in ascendency, Dragan Stankovic particularly proving dominant at the net. Sensing the ensuing problems, Bernardinho requested a TO to make key substitutions with Bruno and Theo coming into the fray however, this didn’t alter Serbia’s course as they kept widening the advantage with terrific spikes. Murilo was the only Brazilian player to keep the scoring ticking over before Giba did his best to shorten the difference but Serbia’s tenacity is incredible and they held on for an amazing third set win.
Serbia kept growing in the fourth set with Janic continuously prolific on the spike while Sasa Starovic chimed in with some lethal left arm blows. However their lead was short-lived with Brazil taking charge at 10-9 and never looking back. A fantastic finale beckoned with the match locked at two sets apiece.
Considering their late momentum, Brazil were favourites to see out the match and at 11-8 it certainly looked like the case. But this young Serbian side is made of stern stuff and didn’t give up. A monster block by Marko Podrascanin ties the set at 11-11 before Brazil kept their noses in front to leave it for Sidao to spike and then block consecutively to seal the win for the champions.