Bulgarian team serves its fans lots of nerves, team almost lost with Egypt. Meanwhile Canada and Russia achieved wins for 3 points.
Bulgaria: Zhekov (6), Aleksiev (25), Gotsev (7), Milushev (20), Gradinarov (8), Todorov (10), Salparov (L) and Skrimov (1), Dimitrov, Penchev (2), Sokolov
Egypt: Abdalla (2), Saleh (15), Mamdouh (3), Abdelhay (20), Thakil (16), Abd Elhalim (12), Moawad (L) and Abdelkader, El Sayed, Rashad (1), Elkotb (2)
Egypt started with some setting blunders but the African team still led the first technical timeout 8-5. Bulgaria implemented an effective defence that stopped the Egyptian rampage. Aleksiev and Milushev led the Bulgarian offence that completed their move to take over the lead 20-17 until a powerful right-side attack by Miroslav Gradinarov drilled the Egyptian defence that sealed the first set victory for Bulgaria 25-22.
Abdelhay continued with his fine plays that let the Egyptian team to keep up with the Bulgarian tempo. With another solid display of attacks, Aleksiev and Milushev intimidated the Egyptian defenders. Abdelhay had another chance to spark up a run for Egypt and succeeded with a 19-17 lead for his side. Bulgaria regained momentum to nail the score at 22-all. An intense rally ensued in between but Milushev’s powerful kill finished the set in favour of Bulgaria 26-24.
Egypt showed more aggressiveness that extended the rallies, giving the Bulgarian attackers from scoring. Abdelhay unleashed fierce spikes that gave a two-point cushion for his side at 17-15 and 20-18. Aleksiev tried to end the set for Bulgaria but the Egyptians managed to seize victory in the third set 25-23.
Egypt took the lead in the first technical timeout of the fourth set 8-6. Elhalim’s fine serves distracted the Bulgarian defenders that extended the Egyptian lead to 16-11. Egyptian captain Saleh Youssef scored three points in a row to gain control of the set 25-20.
Egypt built a sizeable cushion early in the tiebreaker as the Bulgarians suffered a defensive meltdown. But Aleksiev’s and team-mates’ heroics brought the team back to tie the score at 6-all. Egypt suffered on some costly errors on the attack that allowed Bulgaria to spark a run until a Todor Skrimov closed the final set at 15-11 with an ace.
Mexico: P.Rangel, Guerra (12), Cordova (6), Vargas (6), Quinones (3), Aguilera (5), J.Rangel (L) and Barajas (1), Petris (2), Orellana (5), Herrera, Meyer (3)
Canada: Sanders (2), Van Lankvelt (16), Verhoeff (9), Soonias (12), Winters (7), Vigrass (11), Lewis (L) and
Mexican Jorge Quinones opened the first set with a block and a sudden response came from Canada’s Graham Vigrass to start
the exchange between the two teams. The deadlock continued at 5-all but Dallas Soonias pushed his team forward to get a better advantage of 13-8. Daniel Vargas showed a lot of determination to get his team back in the game but the Canadian blocks were too strong for the Mexican attackers to overcome. Canada brought their lead up further to 22-15 until a Frederic Winters attack sealed the first set victory in their favour 25-17.
The second set had a tight start but Canada managed to reach the first technical timeout first at 8-5. Soonias and Toontje Van Lankvelt guided Canada with excellent counter-attacking and blocking as they took a 19-13 advantage. Canada easily cruised to victory in the second set as Winters scored again the final point 25-18.
Mexico took a more motivated approach in the third set as their captain Carlos Guerra teamed-up with Nestor Orellana to run their offence. The Mexicans attacked and countered well but the Canadians did not allow to be outdone by his Mexican counterparts. Vigrass’ block and serve gave Canada the advantage by the second technical timeout 16-13. Mexico managed to narrow the gap at 19-18. After an exchange in plays, Canada scored five points in a row to finally secure victory in the match 25-19.
China: S.Jiao (1), W.J.Zhong (5), C.L.Liang (4), Y.Zhi (5), Y.C.Fang (4), X.Geng (5), Q.Ren (L) and Z.C.Kou (6), D.S.Ji (3), R.M.Li, J.T.Xu (2), F.W.Kong (L)
Russia: Grankin (1), Ilinykh (15), Muserskiy (15), Pavlov (13), Spiridonov (8), Apalikov (6), Ermakov (L) and Moroz
Powerhouse Russia started extremely combative as they performed dynamic spikes from Dmitriy Ilinykh and Nikolay Pavlov. Russia jumped to an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout. Russia moved strongly forward as Alexey Spiridonov and Nikolay Apalikov took care of the scoring for an 11-6 advantage. China managed to get a hold of their game and made an enthusiastic comeback as they chose some tactical moves that increased the tempo of their game. China had a series of deadlocks with the Russians with some fantastic offence coming from their middle Geng Xin. Russia romped to a 22-19 score as Ilinykh stepped in to astound once again the Chinese defence. Russia finally stayed on track until the end for a 25-22 score.
Russia raced to a 7-3 run at the start of the second set as they added pressure on the Chinese defence. China looked helpless as the Russians continued with their attack barrage, increasing their lead to 14-7. Spiridonov’s aggressiveness posed more danger to the Chinese blockers as his combination plays punched through. Russia took full control of the match at 21-11 until Apalikov closed the set with a powerful kill 25-11.
Russia opened the third set with an 8-1 advantage. Dmitriy Muserskiy scored on three amazing service aces for Russia to hop to a 10-3 lead. China blundered on some plays that allowed Russia to orchestrate their powerful offence. Chinese substitute Kou Zhichao tried to turn the course of events to their favour and successfully narrowed the gap to within just three points at 15-12. Kou’s stint on the court could not spark up a permanent run for China as Russia made their final moves to put away the match. Apalikov and Spiridonov combined for the final points that sealed the victory for Russia 25-21.
Photo and infographics: FIVB