Bari, Italy, September 18, 2018 - Serbia and Russia, lying in second and third place respectively going into this match, locked horns to determine the final standings in Pool C. With the USA recording five wins in as many matches and 13 points to secure the top spot in the pool, the Balkan team played the reigning European champions – and emerged victorious at the tiebreak. As a result, Serbia will be flying to Varna, Bulgaria, while the men around head coach Sergei Shliapnikov are joining co-hosts Italy in Milan.
Marko Podrascanin, middle blocker of Serbia: “Tonight we claimed a great victory over a Russian team that many regarded as the strongest side in the world so far. We finished as the second-ranked team in this pool, which turned out to be very difficult indeed. We are very determined to do our utmost in the second round. We are very happy with the results we have achieved this far and are going to prepare to face Argentina, France and Poland. We look forward to playing in Bulgaria but we wish to come back to Italy the soonest possible.”
Sergei Shliapnikov, head coach of Russia: “It was really a hard task for us, especially from a psychological point of view. These five sets were all close. There is no doubt that we feel disappointed. We were very focused on this match. Unfortunately, our performance in Pool C did not live up to the expectations ahead of this tournament as we won the VNL earlier this summer.”