Russia started the day at Levski Sofia hall in the Bulgarian capital with a precious shutout of Brazil to become the first team with a safe berth in the FIVB Volleyball U21 Men’s World Championship 2021 semifinals. In the other Pool F game later on Tuesday, Poland joined them after mastering a fantastic comeback from two sets down to edge hosts Bulgaria in the tie-breaker. On Wednesday, Russia and Poland will lock horns for the first place in Pool F before Bulgaria and Brazil battle it out for the third.
Poland master complete turnaround to qualify for semis
Russia shut out Brazil to snatch first spot among U21 best four
Published 07:07, 28 Sep 2021
After a hard-fought battle in each of the sets, Russia managed to down Brazil by 3-0 (27-25, 25-21, 31-29). The clean slate meant advancement to the top four of the tournament.
Brazil wasted a five-point advantage they last had at 13-8 to let Russia’s great serving turn the first set around to an overtime win shaped up by Stanislav Dineykin’s ace. Similarly, in the second set, the South Americans had a four-point lead they could not hold on to. In the most competitive third set, it was the Russians that let go of a five-point advantage (15-10), with Brazil’s spikers engaging in a thunderous clash with Russia’s blockers. The furious battle pushed the set deep into overtime until sub-in Mikhail Vyshnikov’s monster block stopped the clocks at 3-0 Russia’s way.
While Brazil outdid Russia in both spiking and blocking, it was the Russian serves that made the big difference, delivering nine aces against only two for the opponents. Outside hitter Dineykin and Brazilian opposite Darlan Souza shared the top of the scorers’ chart on 14 points each.
“We had to win today. Our game was at an average level. We can play with more confidence. But what our team showed was more than what Brazil did. It was a normal match, but it could have been better,” Russian opposite Roman Murashko told Volleyball World.
Poland came back from two sets down to celebrate with a 3-2 (21-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-12) victory over Bulgaria and a spot in the semifinals. Some great blocking, especially by birthday boy Denis Karyagin (three stuffs) helped the home team dominate the first set, while Polish captain Michal Gierzot sustained an injury and had to sit out the rest of the match. In the second, Poland reduced the unforced errors, but not enough to compensate for the improved offensive efforts by the Bulgarians. With Dawid Dulski spearheading the Polish attacks in the very nervous next three sets, his team mounted a furious comeback and completed an amazing turnaround to rejoice victorious.
Bulgaria outplayed the opponents in both blocking (13 stuffs to nine) and serving (seven aces to five), while Poland did better in spiking (60 points to 54). Dulski piled up 22 points to lead the scorers chart. Aleksandar Nikolov impressed with as many as six aces towards a total of 19 points for the home team.
“The feeling is amazing! We were two sets behind and managed to overcome the gap and win in the end. We had a tough start, especially after losing our captain, but then we started risking a lot and our efforts were awarded. From now on, we have only one goal - the gold!” said Dulski.