Cordoba, Argentina, July 25, 2010 - The 21st edition of the FIVB World League was won by Brazil claiming a record ninth title defeating Russia 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 16-25, 25-23) in a packed Orfeo Superdomo on Sunday.
Tournament top scorer Maxim Mikhaylov topped the scoring for Russia with 20 points while Dante was the best scorer for Brazil with 18 points.
In an enthralling first set neither side could be separated. A two point lead for Brazil at the first Technical Time Out at 8-6 quickly closed to 11-11. Dmitry Muserskiy’s killer serves gave Russia some fresh impetus but Brazil would always counter with some beautiful combinations between Marlon and Theo. Both Dante on one side of the net and Mikhaylov on the other gave a show of spiking-blocking combinations but it was Brazil who managed to gain a break. With Brazil 22-17 up, Russia coach Daniele Bagnoli called his second time out before Murilo sealed the deal with a fantastic spike piercing the bloke of Sergey Grankin and Yury Berezhko.
The second set also started point-by-point with neither side playing with risk. Centre of attention was a fascinating duel between the superb Mikhaylov and energetic Murilo, Theo and Dante. In fact the entire Brazil attacking strategy was terrific to watch, continuously interchanging between terrific spikes and soft touches leaving Russia’s defenseless but somehow still in touch at 16-15. At 21-19 down, Bagnoli calls his players in but nothing changes and Brazil close out the set with ruthless efficiency thanks to Dante and his offensive magic.
By this stage, Russia is really missing the injured Taras Khley. The middle blocker has been inspirational in this tournament but although stripped to play, doesn’t look like he’ll come on court. Russia’s inspiration on this occasion came from another source – Mikhaylov and Muserskiy. Russia quickly take a 5-2 lead and it’s a lead they’ll never relinquish. 8-4 up at the first technical time out Russia don’t look back and to the surprise of the pack Orfeo Superdomo, Russia are up 14-8. Dante continues to give his best on offense but Russia’s blocking starts to make a difference. Finally, captain Giba makes an appearance at 15-8 but the lead of Russia is only shortened by its own mistakes in serving. The Brazilian machine doesn’t run as well as the previous two sets and with Muserskiy scoring points 21, 22 and 23 and Murilo being blocked, Russia claims their first set by the incredible margin of nine points.
By this stage the momentum looks to have swung towards Russia and once again, thanks to the Mikhaylov – Muserskiy combination Russia let 8-6 at the first time out. Alexander Volkov started chming in on attack but this only fired Dante back into action, giving Brazil the lead for the first time in the set at 14-13. Some superb cross court spikes from Berezhko puts Russia back ahead at 18-16 but following an inspirational team talk from coach Bernardo Rezende, Brazil kicked again and leveled the set at 20-20- The passionate crowd could sense something special was going to happen. A Theo block, Dante spike and Brazil can see their World League title. Mikhaylov tries his best to keep Russia in the game but following another Dante spike it was left for Dmitry Krasikov to serve long to spark the Brazilian celebrations.