In Pool 17 Russia win in straight sets against China and Argentina completed their competition with a 3-0 victory over the hosts of Australia. In Pool 18 Brazil win in four sets against Italy, while France defeat Canada in straight sets. In Pool 19 USA won in straight sets against Iran, while Serbia won in straight sets against Bulgaria. In Pool 20 another defeat for the hosts Germany, this time at tie break against Japan and Poland destroy Portugal in straight sets.
In Pool 17 defending champions Russia have fine tuned for the finals of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League with a straight sets victory over China in Brisbane, Australia. Russian head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo made a turnover, using the match to rest a number of his key players ahead of the finals in Chicago. This provided valuable game time for the younger players in the team. Russia finished the preliminary round of 15 matches with 12 wins and 3 losses, while China finished 16th with 1 victory and 14 losses.
Reaction: Russian opposite Denis Zemchenok said: “From this weekend we gained a lot of confidence, we can play better in serve and reception. We did well in the game against China because the coach gave an opportunity to a lot of young players to play today, maybe they were a little bit nervous at the start but they grew in confidence, this is also really important. The five set win over Argentina was also very important for us. This weekend was the last before the finals so it gave us a chance to rest some of our key players.”
On the same Pool, Argentina completed the competition with a 3-0 victory over the hosts of Australia. Importantly for Australia they will finish ahead of fellow challenger team Portugal.
Reactions: Argentina’s Jan Martinez Franchi said it was a great way to finish this year’s VNL: “I think we finished in good form, I am proud of my team. We played the best volleyball we can and we have to keep working.”
Australia’s Sam Walker said it was a disappointing way to finish the series: “It was a tough way to finish, it was disappointing. It came down to a few moments in each set where we didn’t execute and take our opportunities, so yes we are disappointed with the 3-0 loss.”
In Pool 18 France finished week 5 with a victory over Canada in straight sets (25:22, 28:26, 25:23). With a spot among the top five teams already secured, they took to the court with some of their younger players, like the 22-year-old Jean Patry, who led his companions to the triumph and scored 14 points.
Reactions: France Opposite Hitter Jean Patry: “The match was interesting for us. It was important to play well and finish week five with a victory. Now we are qualified to the Final Six, so it was good for us to finish playing against a great team like Canada and go to Chicago with confidence.”
France Coach Laurent Tillie: “It was a very good match, with lots of rallies, long rallies. It was important to us to give an opportunity to everybody to play. I think our serve today was very good, everyone did well at that.”
Canada Wing Spiker Nicholas Hoag: “France started playing really well, but after they started to miss a few hits. They have a great defence, they are a good team. We had our chances, we were four points ahead in the last two sets, we need to work on some details to improve our side-out.”
Canada Coach Glenn Hoag: “We need to know how to finish the game. We made a lot of serve errors in the crunch times. We also had some good things too, we could let some of the other guys play. I am pretty confident that we will be ready for the Olympic qualification tournament.”
On the same Pool, Brazil finished the Preliminary Round with a triumph over Italy by 3-1 (26:28, 25:22, 25:18, 25:18) and supported by over 9.000 fans, they overcame the Italians after losing the first set. The positive result secured Brazil’s place at the top of the round robin ranking. Brazilian wing spiker Ricardo Lucarelli was the top scorer with 19 points.
Reactions: Brazil Wing Spiker Ricardo Lucarelli: “We started in the first set not playing well. We committed many errors. But during the set we realized how the Italians were playing and we managed to control our mistakes. From the second set and on we improved in all aspects to win the match. This victory brings confidence for the next round and it is always a great experience to play in front of a full house.”
Brazil Coach Renan Dal Zotto: “We knew that this match would be tough as we were feeling a bit of fatigue. We gave our maximum on court and every athlete was dedicated in each point. We have to give our 100 per cent in all matches, and we did it tonight. It was great for us and for the public that came here to support us.”
Italy Captain Oleg Antonov: “We did our best, but to face Brazil with all its stars is always a hard task. Brazil do not give many opportunities, so you have to make it worth it – and at some point in this match we did not get that. You have to play at your maximum. We are happy with all we did in this VNL.”
In Pool 19 Iran fight especially in first set, but USA manage to win the match in straight sets (25:27, 21:25, 20:25). Benjamin Patch top-scored on the winning side with 16 points, while Jeffrey Jendryk made 5 winning-blocks.
On the same Pool Serbia defeated hosts Bulgaria in straight sets (25:23, 25:12, 25:18) on the wings of 12 aces in their final 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League match.
Reactions: Serbia player Marko Ivovic: “Today was our day! The first set was a little bit difficult but turned out to be decisive. We served very well, with a lot of aces. To be honest I didn’t expect us to be that good. We practiced a lot but it doesn’t always translate in matches. But today we were good in block, attack, serve. Overall VNL gave many young players a chance to play. Results could’ve been better but on the other side we saw our future. For some of our players this weekend was their debut in the national team.”
Serbia coach Nikola Grbic: “Obviously I am more than satisfied. It is our 15th game in a month and a half, we were on the road for so long and we are all physically and mentally exhausted. Thus I am really happy with the way we managed to finish the tournament. There are many things that I am satisfied with. The first one is the level of our game, the second one is the good performance of our backup setter who had no chance to play so far due to injury. We put a lot of pressure on service especially in the second set. It was the best possible ending of the tournament for us.”
Bulgaria captain Viktor Yosifov: “The most positive thing today was the performance of our fans. Despite our string of bad results this year they are still with us. Our team made some good matches in this year’s VNL. We beat France, Germany, Canada and for the young players it was their first experience with world class volleyball.”
Bulgaria coach Silvano Prandi: “In the first set we played at the level of our opponents but some mistakes in crucial moments led to our loss. And it was downhill from there. Serbia’s serve didn’t give us a chance. We are a young team and we’re not yet technically compact. From Day 1 of the VNL there were a lot of questions for me. As of today I have answers on what to work on and how to correct our mistakes.”
In Pool 20 another defeat for the hosts of Germany, that falls against Japan after five sets. Yuji Nishida was the top scorer of the match with 22 points including 6 aces, while Simon Hirsch scored 19 for Germany.
On the same Pool, Poland defeat Portugal in straight sets. Piotr Lukasik top-scored on the winning side with 12 points.
2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Week 5 – Day 3
Pool 17 Brisbane, Australia
China-Russia 0-3 (23:25, 23:25, 24:26)
Australia-Argentina 0-3 (23:25, 18:25, 26:28)
Pool 18 Brasilia, Brazil
Canada-France 0-3 (22:25, 26:28, 23:25)
Brazil-Italy 3-1 (26:28, 25:22, 25:18, 25:18)
Pool 19 Varna, Bulgaria
Iran-USA 0-3 (25:27, 21:25, 20:25)
Bulgaria-Serbia 0-3 (23:25, 12:25, 18:25)
Pool 20 Leipzig (Germany)
Germany-Japan 2-3 (17:25, 25:23, 25:21, 18:25, 9:15)
Poland-Portugal 3-0 (25:18, 25:21, 25:20)
Source and Images: Volleyball.world