Gdansk, Poland July 9, 2011 - Brazil beat Argentina in straight sets (25-22, 42-40, 25-23) to qualify for their third consecutive final in the FIVB World League and their ninth in the past 10 editions.
Argentina came into this encounter full of confidence after having qualified as Pool E winners and having reached their first ever World League semifinals. Brazil having finished second in the so called "Group of Death" in Pool F were eyeing a third consecutive final and their eighth in the last ten years. As defending champions and strong favourites Brazilian expectation was high against rivals they have consistently had the measure over.
Brazil's Theo Lopes topped all scorers with 23 points, followed by Facundo Conte from Argentina with 20.
The match was on the highest level from the very beginning. And true to form it was Brazil who impressed quickest as they edged ahead 8-5 at the first TTO. The Argentinians maintained their focus however, and soon tied the score at 9-9, and then took the lead (11-9). Back came the “Canarinhos” forcing Argentina's coach Javier Weber to call timeout as his team suddenly fell behind again. However, the Brazilians carried the momentum and quickly jumped ahead (19-15). Argentina's Facundo Conte was having another inspiring game intent on proving that his coach was right when he recently described him as one of the best young players in the world in this moment. Nevertheless, Brazil finally broke this year's habit of losing the first set and took it 25-22.
The second set provided an absolute treat for the fans. After some quickfire early exchanges the set fell into a rythmic point-by-point basis. Both teams fought fiercely for every point showing some impressive digging skills and high attack efficiency (Brazil – 74 per cent and Argentina 50). The Argentinians managed to get ahead after the second TTO (17-15, then 19-16), but the “Canarinhos” leveled the score at 19-19 and it stayed close producing an astonishing and thrilling finale to the set. Points were traded quickfire set points were won and lost and an enthralled crowd watched the score rise and rise. Argentina floundered seven set balls, Brazil finally used their eleventh and picked up the set 42-40.
The huge physical as well as emotional impact of the marathon second set ultimately took its toll on both sides, none more so than Aergentina who now faced a monumental task. Brazil took the early lad but Argentina hung in doggedly and eventually through sheer grit walked into the second technical timeout with a lead (16-15). When the “Canarinhos” once again blocked the Argentinian star, Conte, coach Weber called a timeout (18-16 for Brazil). Unfortunately for those fans who were supporting Brazil stayed ahead (20-17, then 22-20) and won the set 25-23 and the entire match 3-0. This way they have qualified to their 12th final!