The Russian block was constant headache for Team USA
Belgrade, Serbia, July 23, 2009 – Defending champions USA became the first victim of the 2009 World League Final Round in Belgrade when it lost its second straight match in Pool E today, leaving it out of the running for a medal. Russia crushed the Olympic champions in straight sets to book their place in the semifinals.
Brazil fully justified their favourites tag with a straightforward victory over Cuba, acquiring their first three points at the Final Six in Belgrade.
Idle Argentina, meanwhile, needs to take maximum points from Brazil on Friday to have any hope of advancing to the semifinals, while USA’s defeat handed Serbia a free pass to the Final Four on its rest day.
CUBA – BRAZIL 1-3Brazil showed
that it is the team to beat at the 2009 World League with a relatively
easy win over Cuba, acquiring its first three points at the Final Six
were an untouchable opponent with fabulous blocks and great services,
especially on important points to end the sets, while Cuba was able to
respond only in the second set, the only frame they won.
started the first match of the second day better than the Brazilians,
and led by 3 points at the first technical timeout on three errors by
Brazil. However, the top-ranked team in the FIVB world rankings
significantly improved their attack - and their blocking in particular
- for which the Cubans had no solution. Brazil won 7 points in a row,
turning the tide to their advantage (12-8).
had a host of problems with their attack, while Brazil consolidated
their game and cruised to a 25-18 win. Brazil scored eight points on
blocks alone in the first set, with Lucas Saatkamp and Murilo Endres
scoring three apiece.
second set was completely different. Brazil took a 10-7 lead thanks to
some superb play from opposite Leandro Vissotto, but the Cuban coach
Orlando Samuels then changed setters, introducing Yoandri Díaz
Carmenate for Raydel Hierrezuelo Aguirre and after an ace from Joandry
Leal and a block from Wilfredo Leon, Cuba took a 17-15 lead.
Brazil clawed back with two aces from Murilo and an excellent attack to
make it 20-18. Captain Roberlandy Simon lifted Cuba back into the lead
at 22-21 and with two excellent attacks from Leal, they attained their
first set ball at 24-22, which they duly scored on a service error from
rushed out to a 5-2 lead in the third set and remained in control until
the very end. They returned to the tactics that had led them to victory
earlier in the tournament and they won seven points on serves alone,
killing the Cuban reception.
some substitutions, Cuba could do nothing to withstand the onslaught,
and Brazil won the set 25-17 on three straight aces.
pattern continued in the fourth set. Brazil took a 4-point lead into
the first TTO before stretching the advantage to 5 by the second TTO.
Only then did Cuba improve its defense and attack, closing the gap to
18-17 before the Brazilian service game decided the set once again.
Reserve player Thiago Soares Alves exerted his influence once again,
bagging three aces to set up Rodrigo Santana to close the set 25-19 for
the victory and Brazil's first three points in the Final Round in
"We started with a lot of adrenalin and a very aggressive approach,” Giba said. “There was good teamwork and we played very well this evening but we still have four consecutive matches to play."
USA – RUSSIA 0-3Russia defeated Team USA 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-23) to seal its spot in the semifinals of the 2009 FIVB World League, while simultaneously eliminating the defending champions from the medal round.
The win also gave idle Serbia a free pass to the semifinals of the elite international Men's tournament.
The Russians came out storming, taking a quick 5-1 lead before sustaining the advantage all the way to the second technical timeout (16-11).
But the Beijing Olympic champions improved their defense and blocking, reducing the gap to 17-15 before eventually tying the score at 20-20. But an excellent performance from Maxim Mikhaylov put an end to the comeback. Mikhaylov scored his sixth point of the set to give Russia a 2-point lead at 22-20, which they rode out for a 25-22 victory. Mikhaylov wound up scoring seven points in the frame, with Sergey Tetyukhin adding 5.
The teams were equal in the second set until 12-12 when the Russians took the initiative. Russia coach Daniele Bagnoli sent on Semen Poltavskiy in place of Mikhaylov, who, with a couple of extreme attacks and services, led his team to a 19-14 lead. That forced U.S. coach Alan Knipe to call for a timeout, which appeared to give the Americans a second wind. But as in the previous set, the Olympic Champions came close (19-18), but could not overtake the Russians. The experienced Tetyukhin stopped the comeback and Yuri Berezhko bagged the first set ball to win the second set 25-22.
Russia continued to lead in the third set as well, despite being under constant threat by the Americans. Following a counterattack from Tethyukhin, Russia made it a 4-point difference, before the U.S. succeeded in leveling the score (18-18) thanks to an excellent Sean Rooney. The Americans had a chance to turn the result to their advantage but David Lee made a mistake in the transition to make it 20-20. The game was played point by point after that until 24-23, when the Russians scored their first set and match ball (25-23) after a failed attack from Rooney.
"We had a good process in the World League but a better end was expected,” said USA coach Alan Knipe. “We leave knowing a lot more about our team and the others as well. A lot of work has to be done and we have to be able to add some more experience with other players and develop into a better Volleyball unit."
Match descriptions, press conferences and free photo for media purposes are available at www.fivb.org
Former Italian Volleyball world champion Andrea Zorzi is in Belgrade to blog on the FIVB website with his project “Follow Me.” A click away from the FIVB homepage, “Follow Me” will track all the technical and backstage aspects of the World League Final Round with videos and articles. An interview with the USA player Scott Touzinsky will be on line on Friday, to be enjoyed by fans and media. The press conferences will be available as well.
RESULTS AND MATCH SCHEDULE
Wednesday, July 22
Argentina – Cuba 1-3 (22-25, 25-22, 24-26, 24-26)
Serbia – USA 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-22)
Thursday, July 23
Cuba – Brazil 1-3 (18-25, 25-23, 17-25, 19-25)
USA – Russia 0-3 (22-25, 22-25, 23-25)
Friday, July 24
17.30: Brazil – Argentina
20.30: Russia – Serbia
Saturday, July 25
Sunday, July 26
17.00: Bronze medal match
20.00: Gold medal match