FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Netherlands beat Portugal in stunning opening second round World League qualifier


The 3-2 win was the Netherlands' second in a row after beating the Dominican Republic by the same margin last Sunday

Rotterdam, the Netherlands, September 1, 2012 – The Netherlands won the first of two World League qualification second round matches against Portugal at the Topsport Centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands on Saturday winning a thriller 3-2 (26-24, 25-23, 24-26, 22-25, 20-18).

The 3-2 win - the first time the two countries have played a match over five sets and the Netherlands’ second in succession after their five-set win against the Dominican Republic last Sunday - gives the hosts a small advantage going into Sunday’s second qualification match where the winner of the double header and a place in the World League 2013 will be determined by points, then by number of wins, then by set ratio and then points ratio.

Portugal’s Valdir Sequeira top scored with 24 points however like the Netherlands’ last match against the Dominican Republic Humphrey Krolis was the best scorer for the home side with 23.

Prior to the match both teams were hard to split having both come off a rebuilding phase. Portugal had the advantage of World League 2012 play - although their 16th place finish out of 16 teams put them into this playoff system - and victory in the most recent match between the two countries – in a European Championship qualifier in 2010. The Netherlands were counting on their volleyball tradition and a solid series win over the Dominican Republic last weekend in the first round of World League 2013 qualifying which gave them the chance to take on Portugal for a 2013 spot. The head to head record between the two teams didn’t help pick a favourite either. Portugal led four wins to the Netherlands two but three of those were in the 1948 and 1951 World Championships.

Prior to the match both teams were hard to split having both come off a rebuilding phase. Portugal had the advantage of World League 2012 play - although their 16th place finish out of 16 teams put them into this playoff system - and victory in the most recent match between the two countries – in a European Championship qualifier in 2010. The Netherlands were counting on their volleyball tradition and a solid series win over the Dominican Republic last weekend in the first round of World League 2013 qualifying which gave them the chance to take on Portugal for a 2013 spot. The head to head record between the two teams didn’t help pick a favourite either. Portugal led four wins to the Netherlands two but three of those were in the 1948 and 1951 World Championships.

In what was the first time the two countries have played each other where one of them is on home soil and the first time Portugal had played in the Netherlands, the match started Sequeira scoring the first of his 24 points. In the opening phase it was obvious that Portugal and the Netherlands were equally matched. Dutch player Nimir Abdelaziz tied the score at 3-3 before Portugal reached the technical time-out two points ahead at 8-6. The visitors kept their lead at 21-18 when Dutch coach Edwin Benne asked for a time-out. The Dutch players fought back and Jeroen Rauwerdink managed to tie the score at 22-22. A serve from Krolis gave the Netherlands the lead for the first time at 24-23 before Sequeira spiked out to close the set at 26-24. 

The Portuguese caught a good start in the second set and led 8-6 at the first technical time-out and 16-15 by the second. The Dutch managed to even the score at 17-17 and had their first lead at 18-17. Portugal coach Flavio Gulinelli called a time-out at 21-20 but it didn’t have the same effect as his Dutch counterpart as the hosts maintained their lead before a service error by Alexandra Ferreira ended the set at 25-23.

Neither team could be separated at the start of the third set with the score tied until the Netherlands finally got a two point break at 11-9 before increasing it at 16-12. Portugal came back and managed to level the score 19-19 before taking their own lead for the first time in the set at 23-22. A great block from captain Joao Jose sealed a remarkable comeback and kept Portugal in the match.

Again Portugal had the lead going into the first technical time-out in set four 8-7. During the whole set the scores were close 12-12, 18-18 before Jose’s men took a three point lead giving them set point at 24-21. Two rallies later and Rui Santos did the honours for Portugal to clinch the set 25-22 and take the match into a decider.

The Dutch had a powerful opening phase with Jelte Maan scoring a couple of blistering spikes to lead 3-1 but Portugal fought back to level at 5-5 before leading 6-5. A spike by Krolis tied the score again at 10-10 before Portugal good sniff an incredible victory when they held a two point lead at 12-10. However the hosts weren’t to be written off. They levelled the set 12-12 before the home crowd drove the Dutch home leaving it to Krolis to finally clinch the set and the match 20-18 in a tense finale to an incredible match.

Unfortunately for Portugal they are seemingly making a habit of losing five set matches at FIVB level having lost their previous four five-set matches to Serbia, Finland, China and Argentina in the past two years in the World League including in the playoff series for the 2012 World League against China and in their last 2012 World League match, which was against Argentina.


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