Dutch stun Brazil and other near-misses as World Championship heats up


Lausanne, Switzerland, September 15, 2018 - More than half a century after they last beat Brazil at a World Championship, the Netherlands have done it again, stunning the Rio 2016 Olympic champions with a breathtaking four-set win that resounded around the globe as the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship begins to heat up.

The Dutch, who had last beaten Brazil in the 1966 edition in Czechoslovakia, came back from a set down, Saturday before 4,000 stunned fans in Ruse, to register a historic win after both outblocking and outserving the three-time world champions. This result leaves Canada the only undefeated team in Pool B in Ruse.

China's Liu Libin Liu attacks before the double block of Canada's Jay Blankenau and Jansen Vandoorn, Saturday in Ruse.

Other Saturday highlights:
• Debutantes Slovenia pulled off the first total comeback of this World Championship, rallying from 0-2 to beat Belgium in five dramatic sets and remain undefeated after three matches.
• Alen Sket was Slovenia's brightest star in this match, starting only after set 3, but emerging top scorer (21 points) and attacking for 87.5% (21 kills from 24 swings)!
• Co-hosts Italy rallied from a set down and saved two set-points to avoid a tie-break, as they beat Argentina in four sets to stay on top of the standings in Pool A, alongside Slovenia.
• USA remained the only undefeated team in Pool C in Bari, after handing European champions Russia their first defeat at the World Championship, in four sets.
• Cuba took Iran by surprise in the first set, but the 2018 Asian Games champions recovered in style to outblock the Caribbean side and bring the game home in four.
• Serbia struggled again against Tunisia and had to fight back from a set down, after coach Nikola Grbic brought on some of the 'big guns' who had started on the bench.
• Ali Bongui scored a tournament-high 27 points in this match, but that was not enough for Tunisia to avoid defeat in four sets in the hands of the Balkan side.
• China had a tournament-high 18 blocks, including five each by Liu Libin and Rao Shuhan, in their four-set defeat to Canada. This ties the 18 blocks of Brazil in their five-set win against France earlier in the week. The all-time record of most stuffs in a single game remains 22, by Yugoslavia in their four-set win over USA in 2002.
• After bagging 16 points against Russia, USA's Matt Anderson returned to the top of the best scorers list with a total of 56 - just one short of Slovenia's Tine Urnaut who scored 18 against Belgium today.

Uros Kovacevic attacks for Serbia against the triple of Tunisia's Ali Bongui, Omar Agrebi and Hamza Nagga before a sellout crowd, Saturday in Bari's Palaflorio.

Match Centres:
Belgium - Slovenia 2-3
Italy - Argentina 3-1
Canada - China 3-1
The Netherlands - Brazil 3-1
Serbia - Tunisia 3-1
USA - Russia 3-1
Cuba - Iran 1-3
Poland - Finland 3-1

USA captain Taylor Sander goes up against Russia's triple bock of Egor Kliuka, Artem Volvich and Maxim Mikhaylov, Saturday in Bari.

Play continues on Sunday, September 16 in Florence, Ruse, Bari and Varna with eight more 1st Round pool play matches:

Match Centres for Sunday 16 September:
Japan v Belgium in Florence (Pool A) at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT)
Dominican Republic v Italy in Florence (Pool A) at 21:15 local time (19:15 GMT)
China v Egypt in Ruse (Pool B) at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT)
The Netherlands v France in Ruse (Pool B) at 20:30 local time (17:30 GMT)
Cameroon v USA in Bari (Pool C) at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT)
Serbia v Australia in Bari (Pool C) at 20:30 local time (18:30 GMT)
Puerto Rico v Finland in Varna (Pool D) at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT)
Cuba v Bulgaria in Varna (Pool D) at 20:40 local time (17:40 GMT)

Belgium's Tomas Rousseaux gets stopped by the triple block of Slovenia's Mitja Gasparini, Jan Kozamernik and Klemen Cebulj, Saturday in Florence.

Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Italy-Bulgaria 2018
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