Cuba handled with Brazil by three quick sets, it was a big revenge lost during for World Championship 2010.
Cuba quickly got their advantage over Brazil, by playing patiently and really strong on the spike. Brazil generally made a huge number of mistakes (26 in 3 sets!) In the first set they only scored 12 points by themselves and the rest 7 was thanks to Cubans errors. The second set was quite similar in the beginning. Bernardo Rezende was forced to change his stars (Murillo and Vissotto) and then this Brazilian picture got a little better (24:24) in the second part, but finally Cuba showed their class and persistence and a minute later it was 2:0 for them. After a short break, it seemed like Brazil was going back on the right track (8:5 on the first technical time), but that was incredible day of Leon, who scored 5 points on service (15 total) and he was the one who pushed Cuba to carry on their strength and there was nothing Brazil could do to stop their rival.
Brazil – Cuba 0:3 (19:25, 24:26, 22:25)
Cuba coach Orlando Samuels: I think we have played very well. Our strongest elements were the attack and the serve and this is what helped us win. 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: We are satisfied with the victory. We played really well and it was against one of the best teams in the world. I think it was a spectacle for the public, as well. Our team accomplished the coach’s instructions and this victory will help us feeling better motivated for tomorrow.
Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende: I am sorry we did not play our best today in front of this public. The team keep on making a lot of mistakes and the Cuban players took advantage of that. I believe that the less mistakes we make, the better match it could have been. But Cuba fought for this match and won it. We are sorry for not giving them more resistance. We are looking to tomorrow’s match which is a final for us.
Brazil captain Giba: The Cuban team had a really strong serve today, while we kept making a lot of mistakes. We will keep our heads up and play against Poland in the next match. We will do our best so qualify for the semifinals.
In the second game it all started well for Bulgaria. Having fantastic Tsvetan Sokolov on the line in the beginning, the hosts started really well, then it all tied up and remained that way until the end. One astonishing Georgi Bratoev opened not only the play but was giving the Germans a hard time at the block. At the end of the set Gyorgy Grozer and company were happier, succeeding with the first set ball they had.
The hosts revived in the second set and with seven blocks killed all the ambition of Germany. Sokolov already had 13 points, but the Germans followed with Marcus Bohme and Grozer. That was the moment for Todor Aleksiev to wake up and with some smashing serves and strong spikes, lead Bulgaria to the final victory in this part (25:19).
The incredible turnaround, fantastic defensive plays and many explosive spikes contuned in the third set. Germany started furiously and gained an advantage of several points. Grozer, Max Gunthor and Bohme were smashing hard and set the impression that this will be one fast match. But than Bulgaria woke up and in the end their appeared to have more luck.
Nikolov and Aleksiev formed a fantastic duet for the last part, literally smashing Germany to the floor. Assisted by middle blocker Yosifov and Todorov, the hosts gave a great joy for their excited fans. It looked as the only points guests score are coming from unforced errors of Bulgaria. The triumph came with a lot of premium volleyball from both sides but the Lions were victorious – 25:19.
Nayden Naydenov, coach of Bulgaria: This match was very important not only for me, but for the team as well. I cannot hide the fact that I am really happy because the team played as one in the hard and most decisive moments. I believe that we are heading into the right direction. Furthermore, this was the first match with such great importance since I am head coach of Bulgaria. We have managed to win against Germany in a situation when there is no second chance. We are looking forward to our next matches.
Vladimir Nikolov, captain of Bulgaria: I am satisfied with the win. The most important thing is that we showed a strong character, we forgot all the problems, the pressure and the negative attitude towards the team while we were on the court. Germany has a strong team which makes us even happier with today’s result.
Vital Heynen, coach of Germany: Loosing has never been nice. Of course, we are disappointed, but the Bulgarians deserved the victory. After the first set, we started playing worse and this affected the result. However, we are happy to be here and to participate into the Final Round. We are still learning and we hope will get better and better while preparing for the Olympics.
Bjorn Andrae, captain of Germany: It was a difficult game. Bulgaria has a very strong team, but it was great to play in front of this atmosphere in the hall. I believe that in the first three sets we played well, but the Bulgarian team was more concentrated. However, we are looking to tomorrow’s match against USA.
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