Varna, Bulgaria, July 8, 2010 - Defending FIVB World League champions Brazil sealed their place at this year's Final Round in Cordoba Argentina on Thursday as they claimed a 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 28-26) over Bulgaria at home in Varna.
President of the State Georgi Parvanov, Chief Commander of the Navy Admiral Manushev and many Members of Parliament were in attendance although home fans left the stadium disappointed as only a clear win in their next match against the South Americans will see them qualify for the final stage of this year's tournament.
In a thrilling affair, Brazil began well relying on smooth defense and powerful attacks especially from playmaker Vissotto. The opposite was not expected to start following injury problems prior to the match but he recovered in time. Home captain Vladimir Nikolov tried to lead the hosts but it was not enough as Brazil took the lead.
Brazil carried their momentum through into the second and despite some brave digging from Matey Kaziyski and spiking from Vladimir Nikolov, the visitors narrowly held onto the advantage to win the set.
Bulgaria recovered in the third set after coach Silvano Pradi took a risk by putting on youngster Valentin Bratoev. The move was a successful one and European star Kaziyski helped to take his side into the lead. Vissotto kept Brazil in touch as his steady play nearly ended the match. But Bulgaria managed to overcome the visitors to claim a set back.
The fourth set brought high quality Volleyball from both sides. However the hosts could not keep up their momentum as Brazil booked their place alongside Argentina in the Final Round.
"It was a quality fight against a great opponent," Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende said following the match. "It's an amazing hall and a fantactic job from the supporters and organizers."
The two sides will meet again on Friday at 3pm GMT with Bulgaria desperate to make amends and clinch their place among the world elite in Argentina.