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Finland secure third place with win over Portugal

Finland needed to take Portugal to five sets to pick up the win
Tampere, Finland, June 30, 2011 – Finland secured third place in Pool C of the 2011 FIVB Volleyball World League on Thursday night as they edged Portugal 3-2 (22-25, 16-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-13) in front of their home fans in Tampere.

Finland have now 14 points from 11 matches and Portugal has nine and the visitors will be desperate to pick up a win tomorrow night as they look to avoid a playoff spot.

Finland opposite spiker Mikko Oivanen topped the scores with 26 points while Portugal’s Valdir Sequeira tallied 19.

Portugal started the match well as they took the early lead. But Finland scored four consecutive points to draw level. Portugal then went three points ahead and as Finland had problems with reception Portugal took the first set.

Portugal began the second with a number of powerful serves to take a two point lead. The Finnish block then started to crack as the hosts failed to find their rhythm as the visitors eased to a 25-16 win to take a 2-0 advantage.

Finland then put on a monumental fight back to take a lead in the third. They maintained the lead through a dominant block and finished the set ahead to put a hold on any early Portuguese celebrations.

Portugal recovered quickly and the beginning of the fourth set showed good fighting from both teams. Finland led at 8-7 and had a good streak of points to further extend their advantage. Excellent serves from Hugo Gaspar brought Portugal closer but it was not enough as Finland took the match to a tie break.

Finland led from the start in the fifth, much to the adulation of the home fans. But Portugal came back to threaten the home side. However the Finns held on to pick up the win and secure their place in the pool.

The two teams will clash again on Friday at 15:30 GMT.


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