03. 06. 2018

VNL M: Germany shock Poland, Brazil bring down U.S. invincibility in nail-biting clash, Argentina stamp out Italy!

Source: volleyball.world; Photo: fivb.org

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Poland suffered their first defeat in the 2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League, which came only in the final day of Week 2.



The kings of tie-breaks, Serbia, have done it again! Despite the fact they had a 2-0 lead in sets against Australia, the team from the Balkans staged a five-set thriller to their fans in front of the TV for the third time in Week 3 in Sofia, Bulgaria – 3-2 (25-23, 25-19, 20-25, 25-27, 15-9). From the start of the game, Serbia head coach Nikola Grbić left his key player in previous two duels, Dražen Luburić, on the bench as well as Srećko Lisinac and Marko Ivović. But as Serbia’s lead was melting down set by set, Grbić was forced to introduce these three into the game throughout the fourth set. It paid him off. Ivović was the one that contributed the most to the win in the tie-break although Dušan Petković finished the game as the best scorer for Serbia with 18 points. Aleksandar Okolić nailed down 6 kill blocks! Max Staples top-scored for „Volleyroos“ with 17 points. 

Russia easily prevailed over Bulgaria with 16 points from Egor Kliuka. Nikolay Uchikov scored 10 points for Bulgaria.



Japan prevailed in Asian derby against South Korea by a 3-2, partially 27-29, 25-19, 16-25, 28-26, 15-12, Goiânia, Brazil, to leave their rivals winless at the end of Week 2. The name of the Japanese hero is Tatsuya Fukuzawa who scored 6 of his 19 points in the tie-break! Haku Ri contributed to a victory with 5 aces. Moon Sung-Min scored 22 points for South Korea.


Brazil brought down the invincibility of the United States with a dramatic five-set win in front of 11,306 own fans which is a record attendance in the FIVB Nations League so far – 3-2 (21-25, 20-25, 25-19, 20-25, 20-18). Led by a high-level play from Matt Anderson, the U.S. team silenced home crowd as they got themselves a 2-0 lead in sets. Little by little, Brazil were rising from the ashes. In a nail-biting fifth set, Brazil rejected three match balls! At 18-18, the hosts called for video challenge which showed that one of the U.S. players touched the net while trying to block Maurício Borges – 19-18. With a mighty ace, Isac Santos sealed the fate of the United States – 20-18! Wallace de Souza collected 21 points for „Seleção“ who made 14 kill blocks as a team of which Maurício Borges made 5! Matthew Anderson tallied 23 points for the losing side while Jeffrey Jendryk II made 4 kill blocks.



Argentina scored their first win in the tournament and it came at Week 2 closing against one of the best teams in the world, the current Olympic Games silver medalists Italy! And that’s not all – Argentina made the home crowd at Aldo Centoni in San Juan ecstatic to the tears by surpassing big rivals in straight sets, partially 3-0 (25-19, 33-31, 25-20). Argentinean fans can say thank you for this win mostly to their head coach Julio Velasco and Facundo Conte. Legendary Velasco, who established himself prominent expert while being at the helm of today’s rivals from 1989 to 1996, recognized the moment to make changes in the lineup and introduced Lisandro Zanotti in the second set when Italy had a 17-11. That’s when Argentina started to melt down rival’s advantage with huge contribution of Zanotti in this. Conte stood tall for Argentina in key moments of the match. The second set was spectacular as Italy failed to convert 8 set balls, committing as much as 10 errors throughout the set. When Argentina got themselves a 14-9 in the third set, Italy coach Gianlorenzo Blengini, who used to be Velasco’s assistant at the “Azzurri” bench, made several changes in the lineup, replacing Simone Giannelli with Michele Baranowicz and Luigi Randazzo with Simone Parodi but it was in vain. The confetti fired from the roof of the gymnasium have marked a big win for Argentina in which Conte and Tomás López made 12 points each. Ivan Zaytsev placed 16 points for Italy, who finished Week 2 with a 1-2 record and fell down to the 7th place in the standings.

Canada reached a perfect record in Week 2. The North American side downed Iran in four sets with 18 points from Ryan Sclater. Canada pulled off a comeback in the second set at 3-7 and were close to sealing a duel in straight sets as they had 9-2. Iran fought back but could not do more than only extending the match to four sets, partially 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21. Amir Ghafour notched 19 points, including 4 kill blocks, for the Asians.



Germany broke the excellent winning streak of Poland in the Nations League that consisted of five straight wins, all scored on home soil. The players coached by Vital Heynen were very close from making it to the tie-break against the team which he coached for 5 years but Germans had something else on their mind – 3-1 (25-18, 25-21, 21-25, 27-25). The coach of the winning side Andrea Giani cleverly rested most of the key players of his team in yesterday’s encounter against France (0-3). Actually, only Moritz Reichert took his place in the lineup both yesterday and today. He and Simon Hirsch were the best scorers for Germany with 12 points apiece whilst Hirsch included 4 kill blocks in his out-turn. Poland missed two set balls in the fourth set (24-23 and 25-24). A fun fact: by losing today, the Polish players saved their coach Heynen of bankruptcy as he promised to buy a beer to each adult fan that comes to Atlas Arena if Poland finish Week 2 with a perfect record. This is the idea which is not new for Heynen as he came upon it a few times before. Knowing that 10,000 supporters appeared in Łódź gymnasium, it would be quite an amount of money for the Belgian expert to spend on a beverage. Michał Kubiak scored 21 points (4 kill blocks and 2 aces) for Poland.

France were astounded by China - 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 25-21, 16-25, 15-13)! Led by supersonic Jiang Chuan who notched 30 points, the Asian side came back from 7-10 in the second set and more importantly, a 4-1 in the tie-break. France coach Laurent Tillie makes the rotation in each game compared to previous one in the same week. Today’s encounter was no exception. Jean Patry, Kévin Tillie, and Nicolas Le Goff started the match instead of Stéphen Boyer, Julien Lyneel, and Barthélémy Chinenyeze. The latter trio was introduced back in the third set. One of them, Kévin Tillie, scored the most points for France - 16.


To see complete results, stats, and standings, visit our FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2018 / Male / Seniors page.


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