Düsseldorf, Germany, May 25, 2008 – In front of 5,000 enthusiastic spectators at the ISS Dome in Düsseldorf, Germany beat Spain to earn its Olympic berth. The team coached by Stelian Moculescu finished the tournament unbeaten. Three vacancies for the Men’s teams are still available. One will be assigned in Espinho, Portugal (Indonesia, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, May 30 to June 1), while the winner and the best Asian team in Tokyo tournament will receive the last Olympic tickets (Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, Thailand, May 31 to June 8).
Germany’s dream came true in another five-set thriller, beating the team from Spain 3-2 (25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 22-25, 15-10). Germany will go to the Olympics after 36 years (East Germany was second and West Germany 11th in 1972). The players acted nervously almost throughout the whole match and even enabled the European Champions from Spain to catch up after leading by two sets. A victory for Spain, playing without the injured Guillermo Falasca, could have opened the Olympic path for Cuba. The will of the players made the difference in the fifth set and the Germans were the lucky ones to receive the hoped for ticket in the end, with Schöps’ strong arm securing 23 points and the best scorer title in the match.
Among the Spanish fans watching was Alejandro Blanco, President of the Spanish National Olympic Committee.
German head coach Stelian Moculescu choked back his tears: “It has been a long way. We worked hard for more than nine years and I am very grateful that the boys always followed me. They didn’t earn any money but I knew we would be successful in the end.”
The team from Cuba did their part in order to keep their chances of qualifying for the Olympics by beating Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-16). The Asian team won only one set during the whole tournament but showed fantastic grit.
“We weren’t in the best mood after the painful defeat yesterday," said Cuban head coach Orlando Samuels Blackwood. "However we came over it and showed some good services and blocks. That’s how we controlled our opponent. But it was obvious, that the two teams were very different.”
Live scores, statistics, match results, interviews and high resolution photos of the tournament are online at: www.fivb.org
Friday, 23 May
Germany - Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-17)
Cuba – Spain 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-20, 25-17)
Saturday, 24 May
Spain – Chinese Taipei 3-1 (25-19, 25-15, 23-25, 25-20)
Cuba – Germany 2-3 (26-24, 25-21, 21-25, 18-25, 13-15)
Sunday, 25 May
Chinese Taipei – Cuba 0-3 (14-25, 18-25, 16-25)
Germany – Spain 3-2 (25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 22-25, 15-10)
1. Germany 6 pts
2. Cuba 5
3. Spain 4
4. Chinese Taipei 3
Men’s teams qualified for Beijing Olympic Games
1. China (host country)
2. Brazil (1st World Cup)
3. Russia (2nd World Cup)
4. Bulgaria (3rd World Cup)
5. Egypt (Africa)
6. COQT - Asia (31 May – 8 June) *
7. Serbia (Europe)
8. U.S.A. (Norceca)
9. Venezuela (South America)
10. Germany (WOQT – Germany)
11. WOQT - Japan (31 May – 8 June) *
12. WOQT – Portugal (30 May – 1 June)