Bulgaria and USA top charts at the end of prelims, grid for 1/4 finals is defined
2012 Olympic Games
London, Great Britain, August 6, 2012. The prelims of the men’s volleyball tournament were completed on Monday at Earls Court with a couple of surprising results as Australia opened the daily program by edging pre-favorite Poland and Bulgaria cruised to a straight-set win over Italy.
As they finished on top of the charts in Pool A and B, Bulgaria and USA got the right to play Germany and Italy respectively in the 1/4 finals scheduled for Wednesday as these teams were ranked fourth in their respective groups at the end of the preliminary phase. The remaining two pairings were determined by a drawing of lots, with a couple of derbies contributing the right flavor for the next round of the Olympic tournament as Brazil play Argentina and Russia take on Poland to make it to the top four.
In the semis the winner between Bulgaria and Germany will be challenged by Russia or 2012 FIVB World League winners Poland while the side having the upper hand in the South American derby will play Italy or USA in the second semi.
Australia vs. Poland 3-1
Australia kept alive their slim hopes of qualifying for the men's volleyball quarterfinals with an impressive 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 18-25, 25-22) win against Poland at Earls Court on Monday.
Australia's performance belied their tournament standing which had so far seen them only defeat winless Great Britain. Poland, who were already qualified for the quarterfinals courtesy of three victories in pool A, couldn't get into any sort of rhythm in the first two sets and Australia took full advantage.
Russia vs. Serbia 3-0
Russia cruised to a straight sets victory (25-15, 25-20, and 25-17) against Serbia at Earls Court on Monday to confirm their place in the quarterfinals. Serbia could have drawn level on points with Russia in Pool B had they won, but Russia were dominant from the outset with a combination of pure power and delicate shots to quickly establish a two set lead. In the final set Russia piled on even more pressure and raced into an early 6-1 lead thanks to some powerful serving. Russia Maxim Mikhaylov was at the centre of most of Russia's attacks, scoring 18 points. When Serbia did manage to break through the Russian defence, it was often Aleksandar Atanasijevic who won the points, with the 21-year-old responsible for 18 of the 52 his team managed over three sets.
Italy vs. Bulgaria 0-3
Another chapter to Bulgaria’s fairy tale in the men’s Olympic tournament was added on Monday afternoon as the group captained by Vladimir Nikolov got past Italy in three straight sets (32-30, 25-20, and 25-19) to improve their wins/loss record to 4-1 and finish atop of the charts in Pool A.
Bulgaria was once again paced by diagonal player Tsvetan Sokolov who scored 21 points while Italy’s offense was anchored by Michal Lasko and Ivan Zaytsev with 15 and 14 respectively. Bulgaria’s supremacy in the game is testified by all stats with 9 blocks vs. 5 for Italy and a total of 6 aces. With this result that moves the head-to-heads on the Olympic arena to 3-1 for Bulgaria, Italy’s record dropped to 3 wins and 2 losses and the side mentored by Mauro Berruto finished fourth in the group.
Great Britain vs. Argentina 0-3
Argentina beat Great Britain 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, and 25-15) in the fifth and final round of men's volleyball preliminary matches at Earls Court on Monday to improve their record to 3 wins and 2 losses and finish third in the group. Facundo Conte top scored for Argentina with 15 points, including 2 aces, while Dami Bakare registered 14 for the home side of GB.
The result secured the South Americans a place in the knockout stages and eliminated the British, who lost all five of their matches at London 2012 without winning a set.
United States vs. Tunisia 3-0
USA beat Tunisia 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, and 25-19) in the fifth and final round of men’s volleyball preliminary matches to top pool B at Earls Court on Monday. This improved USA record to 4 wins and 1 loss. David McKienzie top scored for USA with 17 as coach Knipe rested most of his starting players, with Sean Rooney finishing with 12 and Matthew Anderson chipping in with 10. With this result USA finish top of pool B and will face Italy, who were fourth in pool A, in the 1/4 finals on Wednesday, 8 August. Tunisia, who have lost every match, are eliminated from the competition.
Brazil vs. Germany 3-0
Brazil completed the prelims of the men’s volleyball tournament at the London Olympics by downing Germany in three straight sets (25-21, 25-22, and 25-19). The result of this match was nevertheless not going to impact on the final standings of Pool B, with Brazil finishing anyway third and Germany fourth. Both coaches hence rested their starting players, with Brazil’s offense evenly distributed by setter Bruno Rezende while Björn Andrae and Jochen Schöps finished the match in double digits for Germany (with 14 and 12 points respectively).
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