FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship

Press release

Bulgaria qualify for final four with Argentina win

Jani Jeliazkov was one of Bulgaria's key attackers as they made the semi-finals

Uberlandia, Brazil, October 11, 2013 - Bulgaria confirmed their place as the last team in the final four at the Men's U23 World Championship with a 3-1 (21-16, 16-21, 21-14, 21-15) victory against Argentina on day five of pool competition at the Arena Presidente Tancredo Neves.

Argentina were ahead early in the first set, but Bulgaria turned it around thanks to some powerful serving from captain Nikolay Penchev that gave them a 12-10 lead at the technical timeout. They pushed on from there with good net blocking from Dobromir Dimitrov and with Penchev and wing spiker Zlatan Yordanov the main source of attacking points as they won the set 21-16.

Wing spiker Pablo Kukartsev pushed Argentina into a second-set lead and some good net defence, especially from from Agustin Ramonda, helped them to 12-3 at the technical timeout. Bulgaria came back into it after the break with Krasimir Georgiev attacking well, but Argentina managed to close out the set 21-16 and level the match at 1-1.

Bulgaria's blocking earned them the third set 21-14 with middle blockers Georgiev and Ventsislav Ragin proving a difficult barrier. Kukartsev continued to be Argentina's point machine, but they had difficulty scoring elsewhere as Bulgaria's net defence suffocated them.

Bulgaria got into a five-point lead just after the technical timeout in the fourth set and managed to force enough errors from Argentina to keep them out of range and take the set 21-15 for a 3-1 win. 

Georgiev (5) and Ragin (4) led Bulgaria's total of 15 blocking points, which equalled the tournament high mark, while wing spikers Penchev (12) and Yordanov (12) supplied the attacking points.

Kukartsev was the match's top scorer with 26 points for Argentina, which also made him the tournament's top scorer with an overall total of 92.

Victory confirmed Bulgaria as a semi-finalist and put them top of pool A, but they have to wait for the outcome of the Brazil v Tunisia match to know their opponent. If Brazil win, Bulgaria will play Serbia, if Brazil lose, Bulgaria will play Russia. Defeat means Argentina now play in the 5th-8th classification matches against Venezuela.

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