Battle of the Day
The main match of the day this time was to take place in Ruse, one more Bulgarian city hosting the first group stage - the national teams of Brazil and France came face to face after confident victories on Day 1.
In the first two sets, Brazil's advantage in all parts of the game was undeniable. The Brazilian outside hitter Lipe Fonteles was the most noticeable player on the court. His great efforts in defense with good blocking and monstrous attacks contributed to Brazil's lead 2-0.
In the break before the third party, French head coach Laurent Tillie decided to shake up the squad. Instead of Boyer and Tillie, Patry and Rossard came out, respectively. In addition, very unexpectedly, Antoine Brizard replaced Tontyutti. This coach's decision turned the tables. Almost the entire game in the attack on the edges of the net went through Ngapet, Patry and Rossard were not involved much in attack but flawlessly acted in defense. Brizar, in addition to his direct functions, made a huge contribution by his serve. In the 3rd and 4th sets he managed to earn 5 aces that allowed the French team to win and move the game to a tie-break.
The fifth set began with the comeback of Boyer. Brazilians led 6-3, but after some fabulous defence actions and even getting the balls from behind the billboards the Frenchmen managed to catch up with and overtake the Olympic champions before the change of sides. Up to the score of 12-12, the teams were successfully playing at side out shoot, and then Lipe came to the forefront again. First he stopped Ngapet with a single block, and then did the same thing again, but on a double block. Lucas Saatkamp put a period to the game with his cannon serve that even Jenia Grebennikov wasn't able to cope with.
Brazil — France — 3:2 (25:20, 25:20, 21:25, 23:25, 15:12)
Surprise of the Day
Team Australia by a twist of fate after the match against the Russian team was to meet with another favorite of Group C - the USA. After two start-up sets won by the Americans, there was a feeling that the same thing happened again and everything would end just like the day before: the Australians resisted, the favorite on the class would take its own in straight sets.
But Volleyroos had an ace up their sleeve, Lincoln Alexander Williams. Opposite hitter of the Australians appeared on the court at the end of the second set, replacing captain Paul Carroll, and eventually shared the title of the most productive player of the match with Matthew Anderson (both have 21 points). The Americans managed to stop him only at the tiebreak but it cost Stars and Stripes one point in the standings.
I do not know what became more surprising in this match - a tie-break or a super-sub Williams, but the coach of the Australians Mark Lebedew was satisfied with this result.
The point we claimed today was crucial in the race for the top four spots in the ranking of Pool C. I am happy since we proved to have a good asset to play volleyball even when facing a high-level and tough team like the United States.
Australia — USA — 2:3 (23:25, 20:25, 25:22, 25:23, 10:15)
Hosts of the tournament
Both hosts of the tournament seemt to be facing difficult opponents.
Bulgaria encountered strong Iranian team. Mistakes that Plamen Konstantinov's guys had made in the game against the Finnish team, didn't vanish. The problem is that this Iranian team is experienced enough to get advantage of them. In all four sets, Bulgarian side was inferior before the second technical time-out and only in the 3rd set they managed to make a small miracle and wrest the victory from Asians. Three other parties were won by the Iranians, thus they celebrated success in the whole match. To all the misfortunes that happened to the national team of Bulgaria before the World Cup, one more was added: Todor Skrimov finished the match with an ankle injury, but its seriousness is not yet clear.
Iran — Bulgaria — 3:1 (25:22, 25:20, 22:25, 25:19)
Another hosts, the Italians were opposed by a strong team of Belgium. An additional intrigue to the match was given by the fact that the Italian Andrea Anastasi coached the semifinalists of the last European Championship. However, theку was no real contest in any of the three parties, moreover, only in the first Belgians managed to get to the mark of 20 points. Italian star Ivan Zaitsev led his team to the victory, scoring 20 points.
Italy — Belgium — 3:0 (25:20, 25:17, 25:16)
Caribbean teams don't shine at the start of the tournament
In the middle of the day Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic held their matches. Despite the fact that in the first round at least Dominicans managed to surprise thee Slovenes in the starting set, this time everything for the representatives of the Caribbean was even more deplorable. Puerto Ricans were unable to provide any resistance to the Poles, having barely reached the mark of 15 points scored in only one set. Dominicans have surpassed this achievement of their colleagues, but their rival was not so huge - it is hardly possible to attribute Japan even to the group of "dark horses" of the championship.
Puerto Rico — Poland — 0:3 (14:25, 12:25, 15:25)
Dominican Republic — Japan — 0:3 (20:25, 16:25, 16:25)
African teams are much more competitive
The national team of Canada on Thursday was expected to get an equally easy victory in the clash with the Egyptian team. However, representatives of Africa after the defeat from the Brazilians in the first round were determined to show that they rightly represent their continent in the tournament. In the first two games, the squad of Stephane Antiga met fierce resistance from the Egyptian side, the Team Canada were able to snatch victory in these sets only in the very end: 27-25 and 30-28. Only in the third set the difference in the class made itself felt, 25-19 and the Canadians continue to go to the tournament without losing a single set.
Egypt — Canada— 0:3 (25:27, 28:30, 19:25)
Another representative of Africa, the troublemaker of the first competition day, the Cameroonian national team almost did it again on the second day. Africans were examined by the Serbian team, and in the first set Cameroonians passed this exam with flying colours. The Serbs could not adapt to the powerful strikers of the African national team, made absurd mistakes themselves, which led to a nervous ending, where the Europeans were more accurate and more successful 30-28. As it often happens in matches between teams of a different level, after a fierce struggle in one of the sets, the outsider is in decline. This was exactly what happened yesterday: in the second and third sets, the Africans did not manage to counter anything against the team of Nikola Grbic.
Cameroon — Serbia — 0:3 (28:30, 16:25, 17:25)
Schedule for today
Rally of the Day
Video: twitter Volleyball World