In Pool 9, Serbia set new VNL record in tie-breaks as they beat Portugal, while Brazil destroy China. In Pool 10 Italy win against Australia in four sets, and Bulgaria wrecked by Nishida’s serves.
In Pool 11, Iran take down fierce rivals Poland, while Russia equal their longest VNL winning streak. In Pool 12, Argentina shock the hosts of France, while pushes USA over Germany.
In Pool 9 Serbia won the fourth consecutive 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League match, so they tied the number of wins and losses at 4-4, with 10 points. They defeated Pool 9 hosts Portugal at tie break (21:25, 25:15, 25:22, 30:32, 15:9) in Gondomar. This was sixth successive Serbia’s match that has gone to a tie-break! Božidar Vučićević scored 28 points for Serbia, while Petar Krsmanović was great in the block: 7 for him! Marco Ferreira made 20 points for Portugal, who are now at 2-6 with 7 points.
Serbia Coach Nikola Grbic: “We scored many blocks and attacked well from the second line. Unfortunately we didn’t win the fourth set, which would give us 3 points. We made six errors in the reception that complicated our attack and that was the key of the fourth set. I’m pleased with the performance of my players and I hope that we have enough energy to play at this level tomorrow and win against China.”
Portugal Coach, Hugo Silva: “Serbia is the highest ranked team and we were able to overcome their block several times. If we had believed more and kept the focus until the end the result could have been different. We felt many difficulties in building our game. Serbia has a very good team and we weren’t able to stop their opposite (who scored 28 points). But the players were relenteless, they gave all that they had. Tomorrow, with five sets we will have to forget the fatigue and try to play as equals against Brazil.”
Brazil overhelmed China in straight sets without problems in the same Pool, to record their seventh victory (one defeat) in the competition. The drought of Asian side in matches against Brazil at major world level tournaments increased to 41 years: China’s last victory so far was in the 1978 FIVB World Championship! China suffered a fourth consecutive defeat in the 2019 VNL and are last-placed in the standing with a 1-7 record and 4 points. Douglas Souza was the top scorer with 17 points. For China, Liu Libin scored 9 points.
Brazil Coach Renan Dal Zotto: “Today we were able to be more aggressive and the service worked. It was a good result but we’re already thinking about tomorrow’s match against Portugal, that will be difficult, because Portugal is very enthusiastic and they will have the hall full and the most part cheering for them.”
China Coach Raul Lozano: “Brazil is the Olympic champion and they made value of their rank. We played better that against Portugal but the result wasn’t better. Tomorrow against Serbia it will be very hard. They defeated Brazil and have young players with potential and great will to show their value.”
Brazil setter Bruno Rezende: “Yesterday things didn’t go well for us and Serbia made fewer errors and ended by winning. Today we showed that we can turn the match to our side and won by 3-0. We’ve been having a lot of support from the public but tomorrow we will face Portugal and the public will be split. It will certainly be a good show.”
Italy kept a good direction towards Final Six as they prevailed also over Australia in four sets (25:18, 30:32, 25:18, 25:15) in Pool 10, scoring their sixth victory in the 2019 VNL (2 defeats) and reaching 18 points. Matteo Piano marked his debut by setting up as much as 7 winning blocks for Italy. As usual, his teammate Gabriele Nelli was top scorer of the match as he scored 26. Riccardo Sbertoli served 4 aces. Luke Smith made 9 points for Australia, that now are at 1-7 (6 points).
Italy player Matteo Piano: “It was my first match after being out for more three months due to a calf injury. There were moments especially in the second set when Australia played better than us. It was an important set to win but we managed to come back stronger. Tomorrow we face hosts Bulgaria. It’s a privilege to play in such a match as the fans are passionate and I’m sure the atmosphere will be great.”
Australia head coach Mark Lebedew: “We needed a good start but didn’t play well in the beginning. For a set and a half we were asleep and it’s impossible to win like this. We have 24 hours to prepare for Japan and we must play better in order to win.”
Italy coach Gianlorenzo Blengini: “It was another hard match but completely different comparing with the one against Japan yesterday. We won the first set easily because of our good serving. Then they made some substitutions which helped them to push us with serve and to improve their reception. We started to play point by point and at the end of the second set we wasted some good opportunities to close it and they tied. I am happy that we managed to stay focused in the next sets and to win. Tomorrow we face the host Bulgaria. I am sure that it is going to be a wonderful match because the arena will be probably full.”
Australia captain Max Staples: “A disappointing loss. We didn’t play at our usual level and were not mentally focused. On Sunday we have another 5:00 PM start so the next 24 hours will be crucial to prepare as best as we can.”
Japan came back twice in the match against Pool 10 hosts Bulgaria, in Varna, to record their third victory (5 losses) in the competition, having now 8 points. Yuji Nishida scored 26 points for Japan, including 7 aces, while Tsvetan Sokolov scored 12 for Bulgaria, playing three out of five sets.
Japan player Yuji Nishida: “We just wanted to show the Japanese way to win and I am happy that we managed to do it. It was a very important victory especially in such a difficult atmosphere. Tomorrow we meet Australia who has a very strong squad as well but if we play like today we’ll able to win again.”
Bulgaria coach Silvano Prandi: “A match that we must erase from the memory as quickly as possible. We didn’t manage to do a single thing right. We looked like a team that is yet to learn the alphabet of volleyball. You can’t win with seven serve errors in the tiebreak, four of them in a row. What tactic can you deploy when you can’t put the ball in play?”
Japan coach Yuichi Nakagaichi: “It was nice to win this match. It was on their home court, the crowd was amazing and it is a good experience for us to get victories in these conditions. We served well during the whole match but we had some troubles with some other elements. We have to work hard and be better in side-outs. The Bulgarian team made a lot of serving mistakes in the tiebreak which gave us the necessary advantage and that was the reason why we won.”
Bulgaria player Tsvetan Sokolov: “Congratulations to Japan, they played an almost faultless match. We struggled with the reception in the second and fourth set and in the tiebreak as well. And it made our attack ineffective. We need to analyze the tape and prepare the best possible way for the match against Italy. We’ve been in a similar situation before and always managed to get up. Tomorrow is a new day.”
Bulgaria player Nikolay Uchikov: “We made too many mistakes. The Japanese serve was extra special and made us look helpless. I think today we played better than against Australia but it wasn’t enough to win.”
In Pool 11 Iran extended their great winning streak in the competition as they beat rivals Poland in the tie-break, (25:20, 21:25, 18:25, 25:17, 15:8), at home in Urmia, with nearly 5,000 spectators at the Al Ghadir Sports Complex, extending their winning streak in the tournament to four games and claiming the top spot in the standings before the final day of Week 3 (7-1 and 21 points). With this victory against Poland (4-4 and 12 points), Iran confirmed to be a really good team. In Poland the libero Jedrzej Gruszczynski made his national team debut) while Iran had all of their major champions in the roster. Amir Ghafour was top scorer for Iran with 28 points, while Lukasz Kaczmarek made 22 for Poland.
In the other Pool 11 match, Russia wrote down the seventh consecutive 2019 VNL victory, equaling their VNL record which they set in the last year’s Preliminary Round.
Denis Zemchenok scored 12 points, while Igor Filippov also contributed with 4 winning blocks in the four-set victory of Russia, now at 7-1 with 20 points, over Canada (4-4 and 12 points) for which Sharone Vernon-Evans scored 16 points and Arthur Szwarc added 4 winning blocks.
In Pool 12 The United States leveled their win-loss ratio at 4-4 and now they have 13 points, defeating Germany in four sets. Germany lost for the fourth straight time in the competition and now have a 2-6 record, with only 5 points. Torey DeFalco, a standout for Long Beach State 49ers in their 2019 NCAA Championship title, was the top scorer for the USA with 18 points, while Daniel Malescha scored 15 for Germany. (Photogallery of the match)
Germany Coach Andrea Giani: “The match was difficult today against the USA. We lost the first set and after the second, the third and the fourth. We mace many mistake in defence and there was a big difference on attack and on defence between us and the USA. Is important for us to use this match for the experience and to learn for the future.”
In the same Pool Argentina shocked France, scoring the first victory after five defeats in the 2019 VNL, reaching 3-5 score, with 10 points. Thanks to a high attacking success rate, in which Argentina’s top scorer of the match Bruno Lima (18 points, 16/26 and 61% in attack) and Sebastián Solé (9 points, 8/9 and 88% in attack) stood out the most, they downed France in four sets in front of their fans in Cannes: 25:18, 25:17, 19:25, 25:20. Stéphen Boyer was top scorer on the home team (now 6-2 and 19 points) with 13 points. (Photogallery of the match).
Argentina’s coach Marcelo Mendez: “We played very well. We have improved our skills in attack and serve so I am very proud of my team. We worked this morning on this particular skills so I am happy that we won tonight. Tomorrow we will need creativity and technique to play against Germany who have much stronger and taller players than us.”
France’s Opposite, Stephen Boyer: “This defeat is not that significant because we played without most of the team so it is quite normal to lack rhythm. But we will try to do much better tomorrow.”
France coach, Laurent Tillie: “We might not have expected Argentina to be so efficient at the serve skill. They put us in high difficulty in reception. We lacked lucidity in spike and were not able to save balls. We did not play as a team. Argentina did play well at service/block tonight.”
2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Week 3 – Day 2:
Pool 9 (Gondomar, Portugal):
Brazil – China 3-0 (25:15, 25:18, 25:22)
Portugal – Serbia 2-3 (25:21, 15:25, 22:25, 32:30, 9:15)
Pool 10 (Varna, Bulgaria):
Australia – Italy 1-3 (18:25, 32:30, 18:25, 15:25)
Bulgaria – Japan 2-3 (25:22, 19:25, 25:16, 19:25, 19:21)
Pool 11 (Urmia, Iran):
Russia – Canada 3-1 (25:23, 22:25, 25:20, 25:23)
Iran – Poland 3-2 (25:20, 21:25, 18:25, 25:17, 15:8)
Source: FIVB volleyball.world. Photos FIVB, randomvolley.com