Switzerland, June 8, 2014 – The teams in Pool E carried out with the most
number of thrilling five-set matches on the third week of the Intercontinental
Round at the FIVB Volleyball World League from June 5 to 8.
In the nail-biting competition in Pool E - where all matches were played in five sets - Czech Republic earlier won both matches against Korea, while Netherlands tripped Portugal on June 7. Portugal then had a standoff with the Netherlands by taking the second of their two matches (25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-10).
“It was very difficult to beat the Dutch team,” Portugal captain Jose Joao said. “You’ll never know how the match will end against a team like the Netherlands. Both teams have problems on keeping the level up the entire game.”
In the end, the Portuguese team prevailed as the contest became a blockfest. Portugal had 18 block points led by Gil Marcel Keller, who had a field day denying the Dutch attacks as he recorded 8 blocks from his 16-point output.
Meanwhile, in the match that highlighted the excitement of the indoor game at outdoor site Foro Italico in Rome, the home team asserted its supremacy in Pool A and took its sixth straight victory by defeating Poland 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 15-25, 25-17). Almost 11,000 fans flocked to the outdoor stadium to witness their team conquer the former World League champions and herald a winning run of six consecutive matches, matching their season opening record in the World League in 2011.
Serbia likewise sustained their 4-0 record as they went on a 3-2 battle with Bulgaria in Pool B, leaving the latter still winless in the tournament.
Finland avenged their five-set loss to Australia in Pool C last June 7, defeating the hosts in the city of Canberra in another five-setter (30-28, 19-25, 17-25, 25-21, 15-9). Finland have now won a match out of their three five-set matches this season.
In another Pool C match, Belgium snatched a 3-1 (33-31, 25-12, 21-25, 25-23) victory over Canada after recovering in the fourth set race. The Belgians impressively maintained a 4-0 record since their debut in the World League.
France remained to rule Pool D with their 3-1 (19-25, 25-23, 25-20, 32-30) victory over the host team in Stuttgart. Germany went futile in their home stints as France showed exceptional command of the matches. In their latest match, France mended their opening set slipup to take the next three sets and match to remain with a 6-0 win-loss card after three weeks of competition.
Also in Pool D, Argentina are slowly feeling the advantages of having Julio Velasco at the helm as they picked-up two consecutive victories against Japan. Argentina fortified their bid with a straight sets (25-22, 26-24, 25-15) win over the Japanese squad on their second meeting.
Setter Nicolas Uriarte – the son of Australia coach Jon, whose team is also competing in Pool C – pointed out that his team is on the rise as his team bounced back from a slow start in the previous two weeks, but it was not short work to beat the Japanese side.
"In the early moments of the game it was a bit difficult for us, maybe in the end it might look like it was a clear win, but this match was very much levelled,“ Uriarte said. “We are very happy about the win but mainly on having played much better than the way we did in previous matches."
The week completed the showcase of participants as the third group of teams in Pool F and Pool G opened their World League campaigns.
Cubans Rolando Cepeda and Santiago Uriarte once again carried their team to an impressive start as their team topped Pool F with their latest victory over Mexico in straight sets (25-21, 25-21, 25-22), while Turkey made it to the winning column after their 3-1 (25-18, 25-20, 15-25, 25-22) triumph over Tunisia.
China showed imposing victories over their opponents and have kept a clean slate in Pool G. Their latest casualty were Slovakia which succumbed to the Chinese 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-18).
Spain had a cardiac finish in the fifth set against hosts Puerto Rico in the other Pool G match to wrap up the third week encounters in the World League. Spain earned two points in their 3-2 (26-24, 18-25, 25-20, 21-25, 19-17) win over the home side.
Spain built an early lead in the first set only to be demolished by the Puerto Ricans late in the set, but the Spaniards somehow managed to escape the tight first set by a slim margin. Both teams managed to win the succeeding sets alternately until the final set needed extra points to decide the winner of the match. Spain closely got out of the scuffle on two offensive drives to secure their first win in the competition.
LIVE SCOREBOX - WEEK 3
FIVB World League 2014 Performances
Top Scoring Performances
32 – Maurice Torres of Puerto Rico v Spain (June 8)
32 – Thomas Edgar of Australia v Finland (June 7)
31 – Gavin Schmitt of Canada v Belgium (June 8)
28 – Jeon Kwang-In of Korea v Czech Republic (June 5)
28 – Gavin Schmitt of Canada v Finland (June 1)
28 – Nemanja Petric of Serbia v Russia (May 31)
28 – Christian Fromm of Germany v Japan (May 24)
28 – Kunihiro Shimizu of Japan v Germany (May 24)
27 – Rolando Cepeda of Cuba v Turkey (June 6)
27 – Karel Linz of Czech Republic v Korea (June 5)
26 – Park Chul-Woo of Korea v Netherlands (June 1)
25 – Tsvetan Sokolov of Bulgaria v USA (May 23)
Top Blocking Performances
8 – Gil Marcel Keller of Portugal v Netherlands (June 8)
8 – Nicolas Le Goff of France v Japan (May 31)
8 – Matteo Piano of Italy v Brazil (May 24)
6 – Artem Volvich of Russia v Serbia (May 30)
Top Blocking Performances by Team
18 – Portugal v Netherlands (June 8)
17 – Turkey v Tunisia (June 8)
17 – France v Argentina (May 24)
16 – Spain v Puerto Rico (June 8)
16 – Italy v Poland (June 8)
16 – Turkey v Mexico (June 7)
16 – Czech Republic v Korea (June 5)
16 – Iran v Brazil (June 6)
Top Serving Performances
6 – Alexandre Ferreira (Portugal) v Czech Republic (May 31)
5 – Luiz Felipe Fonteles (Brazil) v Poland (May 29)
5 – Dick Kooy (Netherlands) v Korea (May 31)
Top Serving Performances by Team
11 – Bulgaria v Serbia (June 8)
10 – Germany v Japan (May 24)
9 – Portugal v Netherlands (June 7)
9 – Iran v Brazil (June 6)
9 – Serbia v Russia (May 30)
Highest Scorer by Round
Week 1: 28 – Christian Fromm of Germany v Japan; Kunihiro Shimizu of Japan v Germany (May 24)
Week 2: 28 – Nemanja Petric of Serbia v Russia (May 31)
Week 3: 32 – Maurice Torres of Puerto Rico v Spain (June 8); Thomas Edgar of Australia v Finland (June 7)
Highest Set Score
Week 1: Germany v Japan, 27-29 (May 24)
Week 2: Brazil v Poland, 29-27 (May 29)
Week 3: Czech Republic v Korea, 31-33 (June 5); Turkey v Cuba, 31-33 (June 6); Belgium v Canada, 33-31 (June 8)
Highest Scoring Matches
Week 1: Germany v Japan (May 24) (25-23, 25-21, 27-29, 23-25, 15-9) – 222 points
Week 2: Canada v Finland (June 1) (19-25, 25-21, 25-18, 23-25, 15, 11) – 207 points
Week 3: Czech Republic v Korea (June 5) (31-33, 25-19, 26-24, 26-28, 20-18) – 250 points
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