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Tokyo 2020 Qualifiers: Bulgaria near of defeating Brazil in Pool A, however Olympic champions survive and win at tie break!

What a battle between Brazil and the hosts Bulgaria in a direct duel of Pool A (Varna) for the spot in the Volleyball Tournament of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics! The match ended after five sets (23:25, 19:25, 32:30, 25:16, 15:11).
The crowd at Palace of Culture and Sports, about 6,500 spectators, pushed the hosts of Bulgaria to an incredible game, expecially in the first two sets of the FIVB International Qualifier against Brazil.
The reigning Olympic Games champions were pinned to the ground in the third set as well, in fact Bulgaria had a match point after Brazil squandered two set points of their own. However, Brazil survived it and reduced the gap in sets at 2-1 but only after five more set points, in a set lasted for 46 minutes!
After this, they took full control of the match, making a run of 5-1 at 2-4 in the tie-break to secure their ticket in the Olympics Games and send Bulgaria to very difficult European Qualifier in January next year.
Yoandy Leal was the top scorer of Brazil with 22 points, while Wallace Souza served 4 aces. Tsvetan Sokolov scored 19 points for the hosts, and Svetoslav Gotsev made 4 winning blocks.

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On the same Pool, Egypt win against Puerto Rico in straight sets (25:17, 31:29, 25:17). Egypt managed to win their last match in competion. However, the score was academic as both teams had no chances to get the Olympic ticket after their two losses in the opening matches.

Reactions:
Guido Vermeulen, Egypt head coach: “We are happy because we go home with a win. We played good against Bulgaria and even better against Brazil so it was matter of time to get a victory. The tournament was good for our preparation. We have African Games and World Cup ahead so we just keep going.”

Atia Rashad, Egypt captain: “It was important for us to start winning. It is good for our pride, confidence and especially for the beginning of our preparation for the upcoming African Games in Morocco.”

Oswald Antonetti, Puerto Rico coach: “It is difficult when you come from the other part of the world and you have to face teams like Brazil and Bulgaria. Today we competed, we were close to win the second set and probably the game would go in a different way. It’s a learning process for a bunch of our players. Hopefully we will have the projection and the character to keep going and to improve.”

Maurice Torres, Puerto Rico captain: “It was a tough game and I think we weren’t well mentally prepared for it. We came in this game expecting to do one thing and when they put us in fight we couldn’t fight back. It all was our fault. This lost is a hole to us as a team. We can’t underestimate every team no matter what situation is. We played well in the first two days but today we just couldn’t find our form.”

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FIVB Volleyball International Qualifier, Day 3:

POOL A (Varna, Bulgaria):
Egypt – Puerto Rico 3-0 (25:17, 31:29, 25:17)
Bulgaria – Brazil 2-3 (25:23, 25:19, 30:32, 16:25, 11:15)

POOL B (Rotterdam, the Netherlands):
Netherlands – USA 1-3 (18:25, 20:25, 25:17, 21:25)
South Korea – Belgium 0-3 (25:27, 21:25, 24:26)

POOL C (Bari, Italy):
Cameroon – Australia 0-3 (17:25, 16:25, 18:25)
Serbia – Italy 0-3 (16:25, 19:25, 19:25)

POOL D (Gdańsk, Poland):
France – Tunisia 3-1 (25:21, 20:25, 25:19, 25:22)
Poland – Slovenia 3-1 (21:25, 25:23, 25:23, 25:21)

POOL E (Saint Petersburg, Russia):
Cuba – Mexico 3-0 (25:18, 25:23, 25:22)
Russia – Iran 3-0 (25:19, 25:23, 25:23)

POOL F (Ningbo, China):
Canada – Finland 3-0 (25:16, 26:24, 25:20)
China – Argentina 2-3 (25-19, 22-25, 21:25, 25:18, 9:15)

FIVB Volleyball International Qualifier, Day 2
FIVB Volleyball International Qualifier, Day 1

Source and photos: volleyball.ioqt.2019.fivb.com

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