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World League 2003 - Press Info

Match Descriptive

Russia beat Spain 3-1 (26-24, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23) - duration 1:55
08-Jun, start time: 12:07, end time: 14:02 - Attendance: 1,460
Russia continue unbeaten run
Defending World League champions Russia registered their sixth successive win after a workman like performance to defeat World League Finals hosts Spain in Torrevieja in their second game of Week 4 of the Intercontinental Rounds to jump to a three point lead in Pool A ahead of Poland and four points ahead of Spain.
The World No 1 gave a demonstration of efficiency and hard work to deny the mighty Spaniards, who were close to handing out another upset, and prove that their in top World League form.
In the first set, a rotation with Spanish superstar Rafael Pascual at the serve gave the homeside the lead. Russia didn't let the Spanish hopes last too long however and tied the game with powerful attacking plays from Sergey Baranov and effective first-time play by Andrei Ergotchev. At 24-24 Russia were able to keep the high level of performance, and took full use of a serving mistake by Pascual to set Pavel Abramov up for an unstoppable spike to clinch the set 26-24.
Letting go the set like this upset the Spaniards. Led by the solid setting of Cosme Prenafeta Spain came out fighting in the set two and raced to a 8-3 lead. Russia tried to come back throughout the whole set but Spain maintained the difference thanks to effective plays by opposite Luis Pedro Suela and the hard work of centers José Luis Moltó and Juanjo Salvador, who defended superbly. Spain won the set 25-20 and tied the game 1-1.
But that just signalled it time for Russia to fire all its guns in the third set. The efficiency of the Russian blocking and the lightning spikes by Baranov imposed a tempo in the game impossible to follow for Spain. A spike by Alexei Koulechov put them ahead in the set 25-21 and in the match 2-1.
In the fourth set, Russia used their proven tactics which took them to the World League Finals in Brazil. The physical power and the quality playing of the visiting team was decisive and the 25-23 scoreline in the fourth set clinched the match 3-1.