WL: Russia and Germany are climbing in Pool B

The Olympic Champion, Russia, coasted to easy win over Cuba still actual World Vice-champion. Thanks to the victory ‘’Sborna’’ took the leadership in Pool B and is looking down on Cuba, which occupies the last position with 0 points in account. In other game, Serbia wasted a chance to come up to Italy in the Power Ranking. Aleksandar Atanasijevic’s 30 points occulted not to be enough to beat Germany and protect 3rd spot in standings.


Cuba – Russia 0 – 3 (20-25, 23-25, 23-25)  

Cuba: Macias, Cepeda 11, Fiel 6, Bisset 14, Fundora 4, Mesa 9, Gutierrez (L) and Estrada, Quintana, Leyva, Alfonso 9
Russia: Makarov, Sivozhelez 2, Apalikov 12, Pavlov 21, Spiridonov 12, Ashchev, Verbov (L) and Volvich 7, Zhilin, Ermakov (L)  

Both teams come out strongly, but Russian blocking soon produced results. A hard-fought third point thrilled everyone at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum, where the crowd chanted “Yes we can,” before being silenced by Russian superiority. The Olympic champions were ahead 8-5 at the first technical timeout. Captain Sergey Makarov made some good distribution, finding holes on the Cuban side. One of lefty Rolando Cepeda’s strikes drilled the Russian wall and the fans unleashed the famous Cuban wave, but the visitors were still three points ahead at the second TTO. Cuban setter Leandro Macías tried to change the tempo but Russia’s defence was simply majestic. Anytime the home team thought they had won a point, the Russians managed to spoil the celebration. The story was different on the other side of the net; the lack of coordination in Cuba’s defence made things easier for the Russians. The visitors took the set 25-20.

Cuba started the second set slowly, unable to score, and their first point came thanks to an error by Alexey Spiridonov. Russia led 5-1, pleasing a group of supporters that never stopped chanting and backing them up. Russia were 8-4 up at the first TTO. Yordan Bisset scored an ace that lifted the Cubans and later on Cepeda got a huge block as Cuba showed glimpses of how good they can be, but Russia were four points up at the second timeout. Bisset scored two aces in a row and Cuba got closer at 20-21, but coach Andrey Voronkov regrouped his players and Russia took the second set 25-23.

The third set started more even. Both teams traded points but Russia were again ahead at the first TTO, 8-6. But Cuba turned things around to go ahead at 10-9 and moved into a 15-11 lead, supported by their loyal fans. But Russia tied the set at 17-17 and regained the lead, clinching the set 25-23 and with it the match.

Nikolay Pavlov topped the scoring with 21 points, while Yordan Bisset scored 14 for the home team. Nikolay Apalikov and Andrey Ashchev scored six and five blocking points, respectively.


Serbia – Germany 1 – 3 (20-25, 21-25, 25-21, 21-25)

Serbia: Petkovic, Kovacevic 2, Stankovic 4, Atanasijevic 30, Petric 8, Podrascanin 8, Rosic (L) and Ivovic 6, Jovovic, Nikic 6, Rasic 2,
Germany: Kampa 3, Kaliberda 20,  Bohme 7, Schops 8, Fromm 14, Collin 11, M. Steuerwald (L) and Westphal, Tille, Hirsch, P. Steuerwald

Germany started the match better, picking up three of the first four points, and maintaining the lead throughout the entire set. At the second technical time-out, it was (16-12) to the visiting team. The Serbians pushed hard to try to get closer, but they were too nervous to seriously threaten the determined German side. In the end, it was a well-deserved (25-20) win for Germany.

The second set was much more balanced from the start. At the first technical time-out, Germany was up by a point (8-7). However, after the break, Germany once again escaped to a 3-point lead (12-9), forcing coach Igor Kolakovic to ask for a time-out. Serbia could not quite manage to find the right rhythm. Coach Kolakovic tried by substituting Nikola Jovovic and  Marko Ivovic, which resulted in two consecutive points for (13-11). This time Germany called for a time-out, and managed to stabilize their game before the second technical break (16-13). Once again, a steady three point lead proved to be decisive for the German side, who wrapped up the second set at (25-21) to take the second set.

In the third set, Serbia finally woke up and got an early (4-1) lead. However, Germany slowly but surely started narrowing the gap, which resulted in a tie at 10. At the second technical break, the home side led (16-14). Serbian youngsters did well in this set, maintaining the lead, with the third set ending at (25-21) in Serbia’s favor.

Germany was back in front in the fourth set. At the first technical break it was (8-5) for the visitors. Serbia tried to fight back, reaching within one point of the lead a couple of times, but could not quite turn over the score. Germany firmly kept the lead and pushed back the Serbs through the second technical time-out (16-14). After the break, the hosts could not find any more ways to match the inspired German team, who finished it off at (25-21) to take a surprising victory on the road.

Aleksandar Atanasijevic of Serbia topped all scorers with 30 points, while Denis Kaliberda scored 20 for the winners.

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