Brazil celebrate an incredible 3-2 victory over Cuba
Gdansk, Poland, July 6, 2011 – Defending champions Brazil survived a major scare before beating Cuba 3-2 (18-25, 21-25, 25-16, 30-28 and 15-12) in the second match of Pool F at the FIVB World League 2011 Finals in Gdansk, Poland on Wednesday.
In a repeat of last year’s World Championship final, the nine-time champions looked to have been caught on the hop as Cuba, ranked fourth in the world, outplayed their the number one team in the world with stunning vivacity and execution.
Cuban captain, 17-year-old, Wilfredo Leon was a hero in defeat while Lucas was Brazil’s trump card as both players top scored with 20 points.
Setter Bruno says his team always had the believe to win. "We always think we can win," the 25-year-old said. "We have a bench, a group of 14 players who can change a match but now we have to raise this."
In the first set Cuba was ahead from the beginning.The side dominated throughout the set. At 17-11 for Cuba, coach Bernardo "Bernardino" Rezende made an early double-change, which did not help his team much. Cuba easily picked up the set 25-18 with Camejo and Brazil's Lucas each contributing four points apiece.
Set two was tighter, nevertheless, the end of the set belonged to Cuba. They won it 25-21, finishing with a spectacular block. Cuba's Hernandez was the best scorer of the set with eight points.
With Bernardino having changed half of the lineup, Brazil dominated in the third set, quickly gaining a five-point-lead (8-3). They later extended it to eight points and were unstoppable. They romped home to victory 25-16. Brazilians Lucas and Giba led all scorers with five points each.
Set four started with a slight advantage on Cuba's side (8-6 at the first TTO) They increased it to 11-7. After an important play won by Brazil with Cuba ahead 14-13, “Canarinhos” tied the score at 15-15. At the end of the set Brazil showed their class. Cuba, buoyed by Polish spectators, wasted six match balls and lost 30-28.
The tie-break was very close, however Cuba were clearly frustrated and less focused. More experienced Brazil used their mental advantage and managed to stay ahead. They won the last set 15-12 and the game 3-2.