Formosa, Argentina, June 23, 2011 – Argentina continued their spectacular season in the 2011 FIVB World League, defeating Finland 3-2 (21-25, 25-17, 19-25, 26-24,15-11) to collect their eighth victory in nine matches.
This was a duel of two Argentine coaches. Javier Weber and Daniel Castellani have several things in common: they are former teammates on the Argentina national team, the only two coaches of the several-times champions of the Argentine men's team Bolívar, and the coaches of the light blue-and-whites three times in the Final Round of the FIVB World League.
The best scorer for the hosts was Federico Pereyra with 26 points, while Mikko Oivanen tallied 22 for the visitors.
Finland scored the first three points of the first set, but Facundo Conte found his form for Argentina and the two teams were level at 4-4. The visiting team remained ahead for most of the set, with a terrific Konstantin Shumov spike closing the set. The host team's unforced mistakes (11 to Finland's four) was the main difference between the teams.
The second set started with both teams playing well and the lead changing frequently. After cutting down on their errors, Argentina found their momentum, forcing Castellani to ask for timeouts at 11-13 and 14-17. The host team took the set by eight points and gained the initiative in the match.
Argentina zipped out to a 3-0 lead and Castellani stopped the action to talk with his players, but Pereyra helped Argentina to a four-point lead at the first technical time-out. But the Finns fought back and were level at 10-10, and when they took the lead, it was Weber who needed a timeout. Finland were four points up at the second TTO and six points ahead at 12-18, and they were able to seal the set by the same margin.
Both teams knew the fourth set could prove decisive. The Finns took the early lead, but the home side were desperate to force a tie-breaker. Good Finnish blocking kept the Europeans ahead, but Argentina pulled back at 13-13. Argentina showed their fighting spirit by saving two matchpoints and Mariano Giustiniano came off the bench to help Argentina clinch the set.
In the decider, Argentine were up 3-0 but Finland pulled level at 4-4. But Argentina were well-focused and prevailed by a four-point margin.
The two teams will meet for the second match on Friday at 9:00 pm. The match will be broadcast live by ESPN+.