Lausanne, Switzerland, June 14, 2010 – The Netherlands provided the shock of the weekend as they beat defending champions Brazil in Brasilia on Saturday while Serbia, Italy, Russia and Cuba all remain unbeaten following the conclusion of the second weekend of the 2010 FIVB World League.
World No. 1 Brazil, who boast the best winning percentage (78.7%) in World League history, suffered a stunning Pool A defeat in straight sets (26-24, 25-23, 25-23). The first set saw the Netherlands, ranked 28th in the world, pounce on a number of Brazilian mistakes before they pulled away in the second and third to seal only their fourth win on 15 World League matches against the South Americans. "I am very satisfied with our performance because defeating a strong team like Brazil 3-0 at home is an amazing result since they have three or four players who can win a match on their own.” Rob Bontje, the Netherlands captain said.
Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende added: "It was our third match of the season and we paid the price for the lack of rhythm. We still have a lot to improve. The Netherlands played really well, but we had opportunities to win the first and third sets and did not make it".
Netherlands lead the group by one point ahead of Brazil (both teams have won three and lost one but Brazil lost a point after beating Bulgaria 3-2 in the first weekend) with Bulgaria, winners twice over Korea, in third. Bulgaria, who haven’t lost to Korea in 11 World League encounters, ended the weekend by recording their first two victories of the competition 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-20) and 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-22) in Incheon.
Meanwhile, 2009 runners-up Serbia continued their good start in the competition with a pair of victories over France at home. The two sides opened the weekend’s proceedings on Thursday night as Serbia fought out a tight 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-23) win before following up on Saturday with another straight sets (25-20, 25-21, 25-21) victory to lead Pool B by one point ahead of Italy, who are also unbeaten after two wins against China 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-18) on Friday followed by another straight sets (25-15, 25-22, 25-22) win on Sunday. “This is a great group of players” Italy coach Andrea Anastasi said after Sunday’s match. “On Tuesday we will start to train again looking to the matches against to Serbia.”
Olympic champions USA regrouped after a disappointing start in week one against Russia to secure two vital Pool C wins in Tampere, Finland on Friday and Saturday. The visitors maintained their unbeaten World League record against Finland claiming victories number five and six 3-1 (25-27, 25-18, 27-25, 25-18) and 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-21, 28-26) respectively.
Russia still lead the group by five points over USA despite suffering a scare against Egypt in Kaliningrad. World No. 3 Russia had little difficulty winning the first encounter 3-1 (26-24, 22-25, 25-21, 25-15) but nearly suffered their first World League loss to Egypt in a thrilling 3-2 (23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 15-8) win in front of 4,780 fans. "After such a game we should be angry with ourselves,” Russia coach Daniel Bagnoli said after the second match.
Meanwhile, Cuba tightened their grasp on Pool D as they ended Germany’s dream start to the competition with two wins in Havana 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 25-19) on Friday and 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 25-17) on Saturday. Poland closed in on Germany in second place with two wins in Argentina - 3-1 (25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 25-20) with Jakub Jarosz top scoring with a weekend high of 26 points, before clinching a nail biter 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 15-12). "We worked to change what happened in Germany and we trained very hard during this week," Poland coach Daniel Castellani.
The FIVB World League Intercontinental Round continues this week, starting on Friday with Russia hosting Finland at 15.00 (GMT).
The FIVB World League Final Round takes place in Cordoba, Argentina from July 21-25.