Serbia with a trio of the EuroVolley 2013 bronze medallists (Aleksandar Atanasijevic, Srecko Lisinac, Nikola Jovovic) and Brazil with one of the best receivers of young generation Ricardo Lucarelli are going to have an opportunity in order to win the historical because the first U-23 World Championships hold in Brazil. In semi-finals, Serbia crashed down Bulgaria after a quick straight sets match, while Brazil swayed Russian domination in world volleyball beating “Sborna” also in three sets.
Brazil – Russia 3:0 (21-16, 22-20, 25-23)
Brazil: Thiago Veloso 1, Ricardo Lucarelli 11, Henrique Pinot 6, Rafael Araujo 12, Eduardo Loh 4, Matheus Cunda 10, Guilherme (L) and Alan 2, Fernando Kreling, Alexandre Rego
Russia: Dimitry Kovalev 6, Ivan Komarov 10, Ivan Demakov 6, Oleg Krykun 5, Leonid Shchadilov 10, Alexander Safonov, Aleksei Kabeshov (L) and Bogdan Glivenko 7, Maksim Kulikov, Igor Tisevich, Egor Logunov
Russia quickly moved into a 5-1 lead at the start of the first set, based around the serving of captain Dmitry Kovalev, but a timeout helped break his rhythm and Brazil managed to reduce the deficit to 12-9 by the technical timeout thanks to the blocking of Matheus Cunda. More blocking got Brazil level at 14-14 before captain Ricardo Lucarelli – restored to the team after a knee problem – scored three crucial spikes that helped Brazil take the set 21-16.
The second set was similar, with Russia scoring the first three points of the set before Brazil scored the next six, again with Cunda prominent, forcing Russia head coach Sergei Shliapnikov into a timeout at 6-3 down.Strong serving from both teams made receptions difficult thereafter and Russia got ahead again at 20-19 with a point from wing spiker Leonid Shchadilov, but then his next serve was long and a Lucarelli block and a Rafael Araujo spike gave Brazil the set 22-20 and a 2-0 lead.
It was much closer at the start of the third set before Russia had a run of points just after the technical timeout that put them in control. Errors helped Brazil back into it, but they still had to save a set point at 21-20 down with a Lucarelli spike. The captain followed that up with a huge serve that gave Brazil the upper hand in the sudden death and a few points later a Cunda block gave Brazil the set 25-23, a rare recent win against Russia and a place in the final.
Serbia – Bulgaria 3:0 (21-13, 21-18, 21-10)
Serbia: Nikola Jovovic 3, Uros Kovacevic 10, Vuk Milutinovic, Aleksandar Atanasijevic 13, Filip Stoilovic 11, Srecko Lisinac 15, Milorad Kapur (L) and Dusan Petkovic, Lazar Koprivica
Bulgaria: Georgi Seganov 1, Nikolay Penchev 3, Ventislav Regin 7, Jani Jeliazkov 9, Zlatan Yordanov 6, Krasimir Georgiev 2, Anton Vasiliev (L) and Plamen Dragiev, Aleksandar Kordev, Petar Karakashev, Branimir Grozdanov
Serbia jumped into an early 4-0 lead with blocks from Srecko Lisinac and Aleksandar Atanasijevic, and while Bulgaria narrowed the gap, a strong Atanasijevic serve restored Serbia’s four-point lead, 12-8 at the technical timeout. From there Serbia showed an amazing all-round performance with Filip Stoilovic also scoring from the serve line and Lisinac adding more blocks as they took the set 21-13.
Bulgaria gained the upper hand at the start of the second set through the attacks of opposite Jani Jeliazkov, but Serbia gradually worked their way back into it after the technical timeout with Lisinac’s blocking, sometimes in combination with Uros Kovacevic, as crucial as Atanasijevic’s heavy spiking. Bulgaria found the middle blocker unpassable at the end of the set as Serbia claimed it 21-18.
Serbia rode their momentum into the third set. Their tight net defence continued, this time in combination with the spiking attacks of Kovacevic and Stoilovic, and put them 12-7 ahead at the technical break. There was no way back for Bulgaria and Serbia wrapped up the set 21-10 for a 3-0 win and a place in the final.
Serbia’s total of 18 blocking points was the highest by a team in the competition so far, and Lisinac’s personal total of 10 was also a competition high. Alongside that defence, the attacks of Atanasijevic, Stoilovic and Kovacevic were just too much for Bulgaria to deal with.
Argentina – Venezuela 0:3 (18-21, 14-21, 14-21)
Top Scorers: Gustavo Vaca 8, Pablo Koukartsev 7, Agustin Ramonda 4; Kevin Martin Pineura 19, Hector Salerno 8, Jhoser Contreras 6
Iran – Tunisia 3:1 (21-13, 21-18, 18-21, 21-17)
Top Scorers: Mojtaba Mirzajanpour 22, Reza Ghara 15, Sajad Dehnavi 11; Mohamed Ben Abdallah 15, Mochamed Ayech 9, Omar Agrebi 8