A short summary? In Pool 9, in Portugal, Serbia come back twice to end Brazil’s 6-game unbeaten record. Victory also for hosts of Portugal, in straight sets against China. In Pool 10, hard-fought victory for Italy over Japan, while Bulgaria down Australia in 5 sets. In Pool 11 world champions Poland suffered a defeat in four sets against Russia, while Iran sweep Canada. In Pool 12, USA won against Argentina and Germany fall again, this time against a reinforced France.
In Pool 9 Serbia came back twice in the match against the reigning Olympic Games champions Brazil on Day 1 in Pool 9 of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. Even without main champions, this was the third straight victory for Nikola Grbic’s team, and it came against Brazil, who are no longer an unbeaten team in the tournament, now with a 6-1 score. Serbia were 1-0 and 2-1 down in sets before closing the encounter in Gondomar, Portugal, at the tie-break: 17:25, 25:22, 17:25, 25:20, 15:12. Serbia, now with 3-4 record, played a tie-break for the fifth successive 2019 VNL game!
Lazar Ćirović was top scorer in the match on the winning side with 12 points, even if he had only 36% in attack (9-25). Ricardo Lucarelli scored 20 points for Brazil. Bruno Rezende made his debut for Brazil in the 2019 VNL.
On the same Pool, great victory in straight sets of Portugal on their home soil against China. Marco Ferreira was the top scorer of the match with 15 points while Qingyao Dai scored 12 for China.
In Pool 10, Italy achieved a hard-fought victory over Japan, that provided a great resistance against the favorites Italy now with a 5-2 record. Japan won the first set and forcing the rivals to earn the third set only after converting the fifth match point: 3-1 is the final result (23:25, 25:15, 29:27, 25:21).
Italy had a great performance with the block: in fact, the team coached by Gianlorenzo Blengini made 16 winning blocks compared to only 4 from Japan.
Scoring 24 points today, Gabriele Nelli became at this moment the 2019 VNL best scorer with 130 points, overtaking Canada’s Sharone Vernon-Evans out from the top (110). Simone Anzani added 5 kill blocks for the winning side, while Yuki Ishikawa scored 14 points for Japan. His team now is at 2-5.
On the same Pool, led by Todor Skrimov, who scores 22 points, and Aleks Grozdanov, author of 5 winning blocks, Bulgaria recorded their third victory in the competition (4 defeats in total). Pool 10 hosts downed Australia, now 1-6, in an very fighted tie break in Varna.
Luke Smith with 19 points, Arshdeep Dosanjh with 5 aces and Beau Graham with 4 winnig blocks were the bests for Australia.
In Pool 11, Russia recorded its sixth successive victory in the competition: they surpassed world champions Poland by a 3-1 (24:26, 25:20, 25:22, 25:19), and now is with a 6-1 score. Viktor Poletaev played an excellent match, scoring 18 points, while Ivan Yakovlev also contributed with 4 winning blocks. Bartosz Kwolek was the top scorer for Poland with 15 points, and his team is now at 4-3.
Poland coach Vital Heynen: “I am disappointed. I gave my young players a chance to play. That is why I used an experienced setter and some young guys. We played well in the first set. Then my setter got injured. So I had young guys and a young setter. That is too much. I am worried for the next match because my setter is injured. I think Russia played better. They were better in three sets and they won. I told my players that they should be able to play in any circumstances. I do not like to lose. We should take revenge tomorrow. About the atmosphere of the stadium I told my players to stay one set and enjoy the great Iranian atmosphere for the next match. I have never done that in my life. But today I said you should stay one set and look at the fans.”
Russia player Egor Kliuka: “Everything was perfect for us except for the first set. We should get into the rhythm of the games because we will have hard weeks. We will get better game by game.”
On the same Pool, Iran, with a score of 6-1, took the victory against Canada, now 4-3. Amir Ghafour scored 16 points for Iran in this straight-set victory, while Stephen Maar scored 13 on the other side.
In Pool 12, the United States scored the third victory in the VNL. They defeated Argentina by a 3-1 (25:22, 25:19, 21:25, 25:21) to reach a 3-4 record in the competition. (Gallery of the match avaible)
By suffering a defeat today, Argentina is at 2-5, and they failed to beat the United States in a major world level tournament even after five years (their last victory against the USA came in the 2014 FIVB World Championship!
On this match Benjamin Patch scored 17 points for the USA, while Maxwell Holt made 4 winning blocks. Facundo Conte scored 16 on the other side.
Pool 12 hosts, France, were reinforced today: in fact Toniutti, Ngapeth and Le Roux made their debut in the 2019 VNL, playing the first two sets as starters. Kévin Tillie scored 14 points for the home team, that now are at 6-1, while 19-year-old middle blocker Anton Brehme was top scorer for Germany, now at 2-5, with 15 points including 4 winning blocks. (Photogallery of the match avaible).
2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Week 3 – Day 1:
Pool 9 (Gondomar, Portugal):
Brazil – Serbia 2-3 (25:17, 22:25, 25:17, 20:25, 12:15)
Portugal – China 3-0 (25:22, 25:17, 25:23)
Pool 10 (Varna, Bulgaria):
Japan – Italy 1-3 (25:23, 15:25, 27:29, 21:25)
Bulgaria – Australia 3-2 (20:25, 29:27, 22:25, 25:21, 15:13)
Pool 11 (Urmia, Iran):
Russia – Poland 3-1 (24:26, 25:20, 25:22, 25:19)
Iran – Canada 3-0 (25:15, 26:24, 25:16)
Source: FIVB volleyball.world
PhotoS: volleyball.world, randomvolley.com (tomorrow).