Russia continued their winning streak since the start of FIVB Volleyball U21 Men’s World Championship 2021 with a four-set win over Poland on Wednesday at the Levski Sofia hall in Bulgaria to top the final Pool F standings, while both teams had already secured their spots in this weekend’s semifinals. In the last match of the pool, Brazil shut out Bulgaria to finish third, leaving the hosts bottom of the pool standings.
Russia top Pool F unbeaten
Brazil take third place in pool after shutting out U21 World Championship co-hosts Bulgaria
Published 05:51, 29 Sep 2021
In the clash between the two unbeaten teams in Pool F, Russia claimed a 3-1 (25-23, 17-25, 25-18, 25-20) victory over Poland to finish as pool winners on a 3-0 win-loss record and leave the opponents in the runner-up position on 2-1. The first set was the most competitive of the four, with the Russian blocking making the biggest difference. In fact, Ilya Kazachenkov’s monster block closed the set Russia’s way. Despite the absence of their leader Michal Gierzot, who sustained an injury on Tuesday, the Poles bounced back to dominate the second set and level the score, taking advantage of abundant opponent errors.
The Russians reacted swiftly to claim set three by a wide margin. Their opposite Roman Murashko spearheaded the Russian offense to contribute seven successful spikes in the fourth set, but was setter Mikhail Vyshnikov who hit the winner to close the match. Murashko topped the match scorers chart on a total of 19 points, followed by teammate Omar Kurbanov on 14. Antoni Kwasigroch was Poland’s only player to reach the double digits finishing with 12.
“We knew that this was a match for the first place in the group and, of course, no one wants to meet Italy on their territory in the semifinals. That's why we were ready to fight for the victory,” Russian outside Stanislav Dineykin told Volleyball World.
Brazil got back on the winning track and took the third place in Pool F after a 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-15) shutout of hosts Bulgaria. The South Americans finished the pool on a 1-2 win-loss record leaving their European opponents winless in fourth. In the first set, Brazil tallied three aces and four kill blocks against none for the Bulgarians to win it by a large margin on an off-the-block hit by Adriano Xavier. The home team seemed to be bouncing back taking a five-point lead in the second, but made as many as 12 unforced errors. After 21-18 Bulgaria’s way, Brazil went on a 7-1 run leading to a monster block by Guilherme Sabino. The third set went back and forth through 12-12, after which Brazil broke away and made a victory stretch of seven points in a row finishing it off with an ace by Arthur Bento.
Brazil’s Adriano Xavier (12 points) and Bulgaria’s Aleksandar Nikolov (11 points) were the best scorers of the match.
“We did great in the first set but then, in the second and the third one, we were struggling more. Fortunately, we managed to recover and got our 3-0 win. It was a tough match for sure. Bulgaria are very good team, but I think they did not give their best today. We aim to get the maximum we can, so our goal is definitely the fifth place,” said Brazil’s outside Arthur Bento.