Bulgaria and USA stay unbeaten after third round of play is completed
2012 Olympic Games
London, Great Britain, August 2, 2012. Bulgaria and USA are the sole teams with an immaculate record of 3 wins in as many matches in the men’s volleyball tournament of the XXX Summer Olympiad after they edged Australia and Brazil respectively on Thursday at Earls Court.
With the stands always fully packed, the real highlight of the day – a remake of the last Olympic final from Beijing – was followed by some 15,000 fans who witnessed Team USA cruise to a 3-1 win that confirms their credentials for possible back-to-back Olympic titles even though the group has undergone some major changes in comparison with the last Olympic Games. After losing two days ago to Brazil and Bulgaria, two other top contenders for the medals, Russia and Poland, got back on track by seeing off Tunisia and Argentina respectively. To complete the panorama, Germany got their first victory coming back from two sets down to edge Serbia while Italy cruised to a 3-0 win over the hosts of Great Britain.
Serbia vs. Germany 2-3
Germany scored on Thursday its first win in the men’s Olympic tournament by storming back from two sets down to eventually edge Serbia at the end of a thrilling tie-break (22-25, 27-29, 25-18, 25-20, and 20-18). With this result Germany got its revenge for the couple of defeats suffered in the last international matches with Serbia, as the “Plavi” had prevailed in the prelims of the Beijing Olympics as well as in the first round of the 2010 FIVB World Championship in Trieste, Italy. Germany improved its record in the competition to 1 win and 2 losses, exactly the same registered by Serbia up to now. György Grozer amassed a terrific haul of 39 points, including 7 blocks and 3 aces, well supported by Max Günthör who contributed 20 to Germany’s count. Aleksandar Atanasijevic paced Serbia with 22. Germany totally dominated in blocking registering 21 vs. 10 for Serbia and got better figures also in serving, with 5 aces vs. 3, and Grozer being once again the player with the fastest serve (124 km/h).
Australia vs. Bulgaria 0-3
Bulgaria stretched its winning streak in preliminary Pool A of the men’s Olympic tournament by edging Australia in straight sets (25-23, 25-21, and 25-22) on Thursday at Earls Court. That was only the second international match played by these sides, with Bulgaria improving its record here in London to 3 wins and no losses while Australia has claimed only one out of three matches played so far in the competition.
Todor Aleksiev paced Bulgaria with 16 points while Australia’s offense was anchored by Thomas Edgar and Igor Yudin with 18 and 12 respectively. Bulgaria’s block worked well registering a total of 15 at the end of the match with Viktor Yosifov standing out in this fundamental.
Russia vs. Tunisia 3-0
World No. 2 Russia cruised to an easy straight-set victory (25-21, 25-15, and 25-23) over No. 20 Tunisia in a match of Pool B. It was the second victory against one loss for Russia while Tunisia suffered their third defeat in a row. After losing 3-0 to No. 1 Brazil in their previous match of the competition, the team of Vladimir Alekno came back strong and didn’t allow many opportunities to the African opponents until the third set when they relaxed a little and had to come back to seal the victory. As a team Russia landed 42 of 80 kills for 52.5 percentage of effectiveness and they held advantages in blocks (10-4) and serving aces (3-0). Maxim Mikhaylov led Russia with 15 points, including two blocks and two aces, followed by Nikolay Apalikov and Sergey Tetyukhin with 9 and 8 points respectively. Tunisia’s Hamza Nagga finished with 14 points and Ismail Moalla had nine.
Poland vs. Argentina 3-0
Poland trounced Argentina in straight sets (25-18, 25-20, and 25-16) to achieve their second victory in Pool A of the Olympic Games men’s volleyball tournament at Earls Court on Thursday.
The Polish relied on a superb offensive effort to subdue an Argentinean team who appeared sluggish throughout the match. The South American side is now at 1-2.
The winners grounded spike after spike and finished 48-for-74 in their killing attempts. Poland out-blocked Argentina 6-4 and also was better in the service winners’ category 6-1.
Zbigniew Bartman, who landed 15 spikes out of 22, topped the winners with 17 points, followed by Bartosz Kurek with 16 and Michal Winiarski with 12. Argentina’s Federico Pereyra and Rodrigo Quiroga finished the match with 11 and 10 tallies respectively.
Brazil vs. United States 1-3
In what was the real highlight of the day the USA edged Brazil to somehow confirm the result of the final match played four years ago in Beijing – even though by then the composition of the teams was slightly different – this time by cashing the match with the score of 3-1 (23-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-17). With this result the USA stay on top of the charts in Pool B with a perfect record of 3 wins in as many matches while Brazil dropped down to 2-1, moving up the count of the Olympic head-to-heads with the South Americans to a positive ratio of 6 wins and 5 losses. Three US American players finished the game in double digits with Clayton Stanley scoring 19 points, while Reid Priddy and Matthew Anderson registered 17 and 14 respectively. Leandro Vissotto paced Brazil with 17 but the difference was made by USA’s aces and blocks (9 vs. 5 and 6 to 2) to re-confirm that the guys mentored by Alan Knipe are in a great shape and ready to go for back-to-back Olympic crowns.
Great Britain vs. Italy 0-3
Italy edged Great Britain in straight sets for the last match on schedule on Thursday night at Earls Court to move up its record to two wins and one loss in the tournament. The score (25-18, 25-18, 25-) does not fully reflect the reality of the game since Team GB fought bravely and even moved to the front for a couple of times to force Italy play with more focus and accuracy to get back full control of the operations. Ivan Zaytsev top scored for Italy with 13 points with two more players, Michal Lasko and Emanuele Birarelli, finishing in double digits with 11 apiece.
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