South American 'classico' steals the show on day two
Uberlandia, Brazil, October 7, 2013 - The South American 'classico' between Brazil and Argentina completely stole the show on day two of the Men's U23 World Championship at the Arena Presidente Tancredo Neves.
Brazil were forced to come from two sets behind to claim victory aginst traditional rivals Argentina with a tense 3-2 (19-21, 16-21, 22-20, 21-17, 19-17) win in front a noisy home crowd in Uberlandia.
In a feast of attacking volleyball, opposite Rafael Araujo (21) and captain Lucarelli (18) were the top scorers as Brazil found a way to win against a determined Argentina team led in scoring by Pablo Kukartsev (21).
Lucarelli admitted Brazil made too many mistakes on easy plays at the start of the match, while setter Thiago Veloso said playing Argentina was always difficult. "Argentina always represent a tough opponent and I think there simply isn't an easy game against them. Winning over Argentina is always good but it's also very important in this tournament. We were aware this was going to be like this."
Brazil were one of five day-one winners that maintained their unbeaten records on day two. Other teams that stayed 100% were Bulgaria, also in pool A, and Iran, Russia and Serbia from pool B.
Pool B favourites Russia claimed a 3-0 (21-16, 21-15, 22-20) win against a competitive Venezuela team. Despite Venezuela's efforts, Russia again displayed their all-round attacking and defending options with five players scoring six points or more.
"In our team there isn't a star player," said captain Dmitry Kovalev. "We all play like a team, so we have many offensive options, and we help each other to win."
In the first match on day two, Iran claimed a second pool B victory with a 3-0 (21-12, 21-10, 21-14) win against Mexico, thanks mainly to a low number of mistakes and a dominant blocking performance, led by middle blocker Saman Faezi who scored five blocking points in the match.
"We plan the games as a team," said Faezi. "With a system in which every one of us has a function and mine is blocking. Today I was able to give a lot to the group. We have some big challenges ahead and these matches are good for adjusting details and working on our coordination."
In the last pool B match of the day Australia pushed Serbia, but the Europeans made it two victories out of two with a 3-0 (21-18, 22-20, 21-14) win. Australia's Lincoln Alexander Williams was the match's top scorer with 14 points, while Serbia's came from middle blocker Srecko Lisinac (12), wing spiker Uros Kovacevic (11) and captain Aleksandar Atanasijevic (10).
Lisinac said there was still more to come from Serbia. "You can see that we didn't play so well, but I think we'll find our best form when we are going to really need it. We're starting to rest better and I think we can play much better."
In the first pool A match on court, Bulgaria claimed their second win of the competition with a 3-0 (21-13, 21-11, 21-14) victory against the Dominican Republic. Wing spiker Branimir Grozdanov, who finished as Bulgaria's top scorer (9) despite not playing the final set, said the team was improving with every set.
Despite another 3-0 defeat, Dominican Republic coach Osiel Vazquez remained positive. "As my boys have little international experience, they feel some pressure when they enter the court to face top-level countries. With that in mind, today they did better and we hope to keep it like that. Our task is to encourage them and try to lighten that pressure."
In the final match on day two Tunisia almost lost a two-set lead, but resisted a strong Egypt comeback to claim their first tournament win with a 3-2 (21-19, 21-17, 18-21, 19-21, 15-7) victory.
Despite being on the losing side, Egypt's Elkotb not only produced the tournament's top individual serving performance with six points, but also the tournament's top individual score of 29 points.
On day three of competition, pool B favourites Russia are first on court against unbeaten Iran at 9:00 (local), then Venezuela v Australia at 11:00, and Mexico v Serbia at 14:00. The first pool A match is Tunisia v Bulgaria at 16:30, then Brazil v Egypt at 19:00, and Dominican Republic v Argentina at 21:30.
2013 Men's U23 World Championship Performances
Top Scoring Performances
29 - Ahmed Elkotb of Egypt v Tunisia (October 7)
28 - Aleksandar Atanasijevic of Serbia v Venezuela (October 6)
26 - Mohamed Arbi Ben Abdallah of Tunisia v Egypt (October 7)
21 - Mohamed Arbi Ben Abdallah of Tunisia v Argentina (October 6)
21 - Rafael Araujo of Brazil v Argentina (October 7)
21 - Pablo Kukartsev of Argentina v Brazil (October 7)
Top Blocking Performances
6 - Ivan Postemsky of Argentina v Brazil (October 7)
5 - Rafael Araujo of Brazil v Dominican Republic (October 6)
5 - Saman Faezi of Iran v Mexico (October 7)
5 - Omar Hassan of Egypt v Tunisia (October 7)
Top Blocking Performances by Team
13 - Iran v Mexico (October 7)
12 - Serbia v Venezuela (October 6)
12 - Argentina v Tunisia (October 6)
12 - Egypt v Tunisia (October 7)
10 - Brazil v Argentina (October 7)
10 - Tunisia v Egypt (October 7)
Top Serving Performances
6 - Ahmed Elkotb of Egypt v Tunisia (October 7)
3 - Mojtaba Mirzajanpour of Iran v Mexico (October 7)
3 - Dmitry Kovalev of Russia v Venezuela (October 7)
Top Serving Performances by Team
7 – Russia v Mexico (October 6)
7 - Egypt v Tunisia (October 7)
6 - Tunisia v Argentina (October 6)
6 - Russia v Venezuela (October 7)
5 - Iran v Australia (October 6)
5 - Brazil v Dominican Republic (October 6)
5 - Bulgaria v Egypt (October 6)
5 - Iran v Mexico (October 7)
Highest Scorers by day
28 - Aleksandar Atanasijevic of Serbia v Venezuela (day 1, October 6)
29 - Ahmed Elkotb of Egypt v Tunisia (day 2, October 7)
Highest Set Score
22-20 Russia v Venezuela (3rd set, October 7)
22-20 Serbia v Australia (2nd set, October 7)
22-20 Brazil v Argentina (3rd set, October 7)
Highest Scoring Matches
193 - Brazil def Argentina 3-2 (19-21, 16-21, 22-20, 21-17, 19-17) day 2, October 7
179 - Tunisia def Egypt 3-2 (21-19, 21-17, 18-21, 19-21, 15-7) day 2, October 7
178 - Argentina def Tunisia 3-2 (21-14, 21-18, 13-21, 19-21, 16-14) day 1, October 6
150 – Serbia def Venezuela 3-1 (15-21, 21-18, 21-19, 21-14) day 1, October 6