Cordoba, Argentina, July 22, 2010 – Russia and Brazil both booked spots in the semifinals of the 2010 World League after claiming their second victory from as many matches at the Final Round in Cordoba, Argentina on Thursday. Russia beat Cuba in a five set thriller 3-2 (23-25, 25-14, 25-20, 22-25, 15-13) followed by defending champions Brazil who also took five sets to see off Serbia 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 18-25, 25-20, 16-14).
In a repeat of last year’s medal matches, the results mirrored 2009 with Brazil and Russia coming out on top. For the fourth time in as many matches, five sets were required to determine a winner, illustrating the intense nature of this edition of the World League in the Orfeo Superdomo.
After Wednesday’s opening day win over Italy, Russia, who extended their World League win:loss record over Cuba to 23:16, will now rest while Italy and Cuba play for the other semifinal spot of Pool F on Friday. Once again Russia relied on Maxim Mikhaylov who topped the scores for the second successive match with 21 points while for Cuba, captain Robertlandy Simon was to the fore with 17 points.
“After yesterday’s match we had not assured our participation in the semifinals,” Mikhaylov said. “We improved our performance from the first match and the victory left us ranked first in the pool and therefore we are sure and happy.”
Meanwhile, Brazil beat Serbia in an amazing display of tenacity and spirit. Once Serbia had claimed the first and third sets, a repeat of the 2008 World League victory looked on the cards but a wounded Brazil is a dangerous animal and they fought their way back into the match with great collective spirit and good old fashioned guts to record their 15th win over Serbia in 18 World League contests. Leandro Vissotto topped Brazil’s scoring with 20 points while for Serbia, Sasa Starovic scored 16.
“The match showed the level of the competition but the key was the substitutions we made,” Brazil captain Giba said. “Now we have to think of the finals and we know that we must play very hard.”
“We must have our power and have confidence,” Brazil setter Marlon continued. “We knew it would not be easy but with strength and resolution we will reach the final.”
The third day of the 2010 FIVB World League will see to playoffs for semifinal places with Cuba playing Italy at 17:30 (local time) followed by Argentina against Serbia. The winner of the first match will play Brazil in the semifinals with the second game winner set to face Russia.
For the full draw, standings, latest news, live scoring and photos visit the FIVB World League website at http://www.fivb.org/EN/Volleyball/Competitions/WorldLeague/2010/?Tourn=WL2010