Canada shocks Russia, Italy too good for Bulgaria at World League Finals
News from the FIVB
Mar del Plata, Argentina, July 18, 2013. The FIVB World League Finals continued to serve up plenty of drama and suspense on Thursday starting with an incredible come-from-behind Canadian victory over 2012 Olympic champions Russia 3-2 (20-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, and 15-11) before Italy completed an impressive 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-22, and 26-24) win over Bulgaria.
Canada’s shock win has thrown Pool E wide open with Brazil’s match against Canada on Friday set to determine which two of the three teams will advance to Saturday’s semifinals. Pool D is similarly in a position of uncertainty with Italy and Bulgaria with three points and Argentina on 0 with one game – Italy vs. Argentina – still to play on Friday. Friday’s final pool matches will be followed by semifinal matches on Saturday and finals on Sunday.
World No. 18 Canada pulled off one of the biggest wins in their history by beating Olympic champions and world No. 2 Russia for the first time ever in a five set thriller 3-2 (20-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-11) in their Pool E match on Thursday. In three previous matches between the two countries, Russia had won them all – one in five sets under the old scoring system and two in straight sets at the 1999 World Cup and 2006 World Championships. Canada now join Korea (2008) as the only team in the last 15 years to come back from two sets down to beat Russia in the World League and the Canadian victory throws Pool E open with Russia, who beat Brazil in five sets on Wednesday, missing out on the chance to confirm a spot in Saturday’s semifinals.
Canada coach Glenn Hoag said there is still room for improvement despite his side claiming their first ever win over Volleyball giants Russia during the World League Finals pool play on Thursday. “I’m very happy [with the win], it’s a big step for us to come here, our program has evolved in the last six years and this is a great accomplishment, but this tournament is far from over, and it’s going to be a big fight tomorrow against Brazil”.
World No 3 Italy repeated their Olympic bronze medal match victory over Bulgaria, ranked 8th in the world, in their opening FIVB Volleyball World League Finals match winning 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-22, 26-24) in the Estadio Islas Malvinas on Thursday. The match was expected to be a heavyweight battle between the two highest scorers in the Intercontinental Round Ivan Zaytsev, who had tallied 215 points for Italy, and Bulgaria’s Tsvetan Sokolov who had scored 209 and it proved exactly that. Zaytsev led Italy’s scoring with 19 points but Sokolov was a man on a mission, recording 27 which represented close to 30 percent of Bulgaria’s points.
Setter Dragan Travica said Italy played some of their best Volleyball of the season, but was very proud of the heart his team showed to beat Bulgaria 3-1 on day two of the 2013 World League Finals. “I think we played very well in the first set. This was one of the best [sets] we played this year in the World League”.
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