FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Netherlands replace Portugal in World League after two superb five-setters

Jeroen Rauwerdink and Gijs Jorna celebrate the Netherlands' return to the World League after a two year absence

Rotterdam, the Netherlands, September 2, 2012 – World No. 41 the Netherlands beat Portugal, ranked 38th in the world, in the second match of their World League 2013 qualification playoff 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-21, 15-13) in Rotterdam on Sunday. Following Saturday’s incredible 3-2 win on Saturday, the Netherlands replace Portugal in the World League to return to the FIVB’s premier annual men’s tournament after an absence of two years.

It was a superb team effort from the home side with four players reaching double figures led, like the last two matches, by Humphrey Krolis on 18 points. Like Saturday’s match, Valdir Sequeira top scored for Portugal and the match with 23 points.

After Saturday’s 3-2 win to the Netherlands, Portugal needed to win Sunday’s match to keep their World League place after finishing 16th and last in this year’s edition. The teams were close but the Netherlands proved to be more convincing in the deciding fifth set. The Netherlands now have the chance to prove themselves worthy for competing in the World League series.

Alexandra Ferreira opened the scoring as Portugal dominated the early exchanges to lead 6-1 and 8-4. They maintained the lead at 15-10 and 16-11 thanks to some great serving by Ferreira. Despite their best attempts the Dutch couldn’t close the gap as Portugal led 19-13. Jelte Maan saved one set point at 24-20 but a spike from Krolis into a block ended the first set 25-20.

In the second set neither team could be separated and the scores were tied at 5-5. A service ace by Krolis increased the lead for the Dutch to two at 7-5, giving reason for Portuguese coach Flavio Gulinelli to ask for a time-out. The scores were locked at 14-14 but going into the second technical time-out the Netherlands had a two point break at 16-14 before increasing it to three at 19-16. Portugal fought back but an unstoppable spike by Maan brought the Netherlands set point at 24-22. A direct score of Dutch setter Abdelaziz managed to end the second set in favour of the home team: 25-23.

The Netherlands took the initiative in the third set and lead (5-1). After a spike from Rauwerink going out through the block of Santos Rui the Netherlands lead 8-6. Portugal tied at 10-10 and a spike out by Krolis gave the lead to Portugal before they stretched the lead to three at 15-12 and 18-15 before a well spiked ball from Sequeira set Portugal on their way to clinching the set 25-7.

All or nothing for the Dutch team in the fourth set. The Netherlands reached the first technical time-out with one point lead at 8-7. Though Portugal evened the score at 9-9, a service error gave the lead back to the Dutch at 10-9. The Netherlands kept on scoring and created a gap of five points at 20-15 but the Portuguese maintained the focus and got back to 20-19. A service ace by Wytze Kooistra gave a three point lead for the Netherlands at 23-20 before captain Rob Bontje spiked the last ball down centre court to seal the fourth set 25-21.

Like Saturday, the fans witnessed a deciding fifth set. The score was tied at 6-6 before a false service by Maan and a spike by Portugal skipper Joao Jose gave Portugal a 8-6 lead. The Netherlands evened the score again 9-9 before good blocks by Wytze Kooistra and Nimir Abdelaziz created a 11-9 lead. Portugal tied the score again at 13-13 but a spike out by Portugal ended the match 15-13 and qualified the Netherlands for next year’s edition of the World League.

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