Hiroshima, Japan, October 13, 2019 – Brazil bagged their ninth consecutive win in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup after a tough tie-break triumph against Poland 3-2 (19-25, 25-23, 25-19, 16-25, 15-11) on Sunday at the Hiroshima Green Arena.
The reigning Olympic champions Brazil stay on top of the rankings table, while the current world champions Poland remain in second spot.
Poland gave Brazil a tough challenge and served very well in the first set making it difficult for Poland to set up their plays. In the second set, the South American side played with better focus and managed to side-out and counter-attack. Captain Bruno Rezende changed his tactic to favour his outside spikers and opposite, instead of utilising the middles to get out of the tight set.
In the third set, Brazil were able to attack better, but Poland's net defence was key to the fourth set. By the tie-break, Brazil gained momentum and took advantage of opportunities to close out the match.
Alan Souza served as the sparkplug for Brazil’s offence, scoring a total of 27 points.
“I’m happy that I can do my best for Brazil. This match against Poland was crucial in this tournament. It’s important to give my best, not only me, but the rest of the players. This tournament puts a positive drive in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Against a strong team like Poland, we showed our experience in crucial moments, which helped us achieve victory,” he said.
USA 3-0 Australia
Defending champions USA stay in third place after winning in straight sets 3-0 (25-14, 25-13, 25-16) against Australia in the second match in Site B.
The Americans led on all scoring fronts, and played tight defence. Hitters Matt Anderson (13 points), Garrett Muagututia (12 points), Aaron Russell (10 points) made up USA’s offensive unit in what coach John Speraw deemed a well-rounded match.
“We played well in all facets of the game,” Speraw said.
USA middle blocker Maxwell Holt added: “I’m proud of our team with the way we came out and executed. Australia is a good team. Both of their left-handed opposites are tough to stop. I think we executed better today than two days ago (against Canada). We have a big match against Russia tomorrow. Every match, every point is important in this tournament."
Japan 3–1 Iran
Japan celebrated a historic feat in the World Cup, stringing up five consecutive victories including Sunday’s 3-1 match (25-16, 26-28, 25-13, 25-21) against Iran.
The hosts showed a strong service game, leaving their opponents struggling in passing. Iran tried to defend against Japan and utilised their blocks to set up a contest, but the hosts had better control and tempo to take the win. Yuji Nishida and Yuki Ishikawa scored 23 points each to the delight of the home crowd in Hiroshima.
Argentina 3-1 Russia
Argentina gained a 4-5 card after defeating Russia 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 25-16) in Sunday’s first match in Site B.
Argentina posted better control of the match, getting a good start from the service line. The South American side imposed pressure, finding the Russians with much difficulty in passing. The Argentines also proved their success in blocking against a much taller team, gaining a total of 10 points from deflections.
Coach Marcelo Mendez said “I think more than the our block-defence, we really had good service today, which is why we could also create good block formation against Russia.”
Canada 3-2 Italy
Captain Nicholas Hoag scored a match-high of 21 points to help Canada outlast Italy in the tie-break (19-25, 25-17, 15-25, 25-23, 18-16). Stephen Maar added another 20 points for the Norceca side, while Italian opposite Gabriele Nelli scored 23 points in the loss.
The Canadians improve to a 4-5 card after Sunday’s first match in Site A.
Tunisia 3-1 Egypt
In the final match of the day in Site B, Tunisia celebrated their first victory in the competition, after a 3-1 defeat (25-23, 14-25, 25-17, 25-18) of Egypt. The All-Africa derby saw Tunisia’s hitter Hamza Nagga score a match-high of 25 points, with Ben Othmen Miladi and Ismail Moalla also providing double-digits.
"We are very happy for this win. I was a tough match against Egypt. We finall got our first win. It was difficult for us. It is good for us to come to Japan and play against this strong team. We believe we can win more matches," Nagga said.
Tunisia’s Hamza Nagga hugs Vabochan after Sunday’s victory in Green Arena
Results and Ranking
The competition heads towards the final stretch with just two match days remaining. The winners of the 2019 edition shall be awarded on Tuesday, October 15, at the Green Arena in Hiroshima.