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WL M: Cuba shock Brazil as Bulgaria hold off Germany

by WoV
source: fivb.org

A thrilling opening day of the FIVB World League Finals in Sofia, Bulgaria came to a dramatic close on Wednesday as hosts Bulgaria came from behind to beat Germany 3-1 (26-28, 25-19, 29-27, 25-19) in Pool E. Earlier in the day, Cuba pulled off a huge upset in the opening match by beating world champions Brazil 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-22), the first straight sets victory for Cuba over the nine-time World League winners since the 1999 World League semifinals.



The Pool F victory was Cuba’s second in succession over Brazil after the world No. 5 had recorded a 3-2 win at last year’s World Cup however Brazil, ranked 1st in the world, still lead the head to head record just with 27 victories in 52 encounters and 12:11 in the World League.

 “I think we have played very well, our strongest elements were the attack and the serve and this is what helped us win,” Cuba coach Orlando Samuels said. “We managed to do everything in the best way possible and we have played good volleyball since the beginning of the tournament. The matches against Serbia and Russia really helped our self-esteem and now we feel motivated to pursue the maximum in the Finals.”

Cuba captain Wilfredo Leon added: “We played really well and it was against one of the best teams in the world. Our team accomplished the coach’s instructions and this victory will help us feeling better motivated for tomorrow.”

Bulgaria’s victory saw the world No. 9 beat World League Finals debutants Germany, ranked 13th, for the third time in five matches in this year’s competition, reversing Sunday’s five set defeat.

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