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Men's Volleyball FIVB Nations League 2018

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Federer91    243

Can't watch anything, because of course the tournament is on one of the deepest payed channels... :wall:

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VolleyRuller96    166







Ningbo, China, May 26 - Taylor Sander stepped up big with 18 points for the USA as the world's second-ranked team made it 2-0 so far with a 3-1 (25-19, 22-25, 25-19, 25-20) in first-round action at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Saturday.

The 26-year-old wing spiker led a fearsome American back-row attack as they picked their opponents apart after a nervy start, with both wing spiker Thomas Jaeschke (16 points) and middle blocker Maxwell Holt (12 points) taking the match away from the Bulgarians.
The Balkan outfit had started brightly as they looked to build on their 3-2 win over China the night before. But they were overpowered in the middle sets as the American machine clicked into gear.
Best on court for Bulgaria were wing spikers Nikolay Uchikov (15 points) with Todor Skrimov (10 points) playing a fine supporting role.
A late rally put pressure of the US towards the death but cooler heads prevailed.

So it was the Americans who left the Beilun Sport and Art Centre court with their eyes on a clean sweep of matches in the first round of this inaugural event, and it would be hard to go against them, with only the 20th-ranked Chinese remaining in this first round.
The history books make for misleading reading when it comes to previous clashes between the two nations. The Bulgarians led the head-to-heads 14-10 coming into the round of matches in Ningbo, but the Americans had won seven of the past nine meetings.
Notch up another one (14-11) for a team who already looks like being a serious threat in the inaugural staging on this event.
The trick so far has been the fact the American squad is loaded with talent. While Sander dominated scoring veterans such as the sweet-serving setter Kawika Shoji were also there on Saturday to do the ground work.
Already, the USA has shown some resilience, too, Friday's 3-2 win over Argentina came after they were 0-2 down and it was the first time they had won a five-setter at a world level major tournament since they took bronze over Russia at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
It hasn't totally clicked for John Speraw's squad but these are still early days in the VNL.
Ningbo, China, May 26 - Chuan Jiang was in irresistible form on Saturday, collecting 23 points in a superb all-round performance as China rolled Argentina 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-18) and delighted their fans in first-round action at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
World rankings were thrown out the window as the opposite spiker proved his versatility all over the court in leading the 20th-ranked Chinese over their seventh-ranked rivals.
Chuan had a large support crew but special mention needs to go to wing spiker Ji Daoshuai, with his eight points and inspirational play.

Argentina had won the first two sets the night before against world number two USA, before falling 3-2, but never really troubled the Chinese on Saturday night - much to the sheer joy sounding out across the stadium by the chanting and cheerful locals.
Wing spiker Tomas Lopez (10 points) was the most gallant in a defeat that wasn't expected but maybe should have been, given that China had won all three matches played on home soil in last year's World League.

As well as the attack, led superbly by Chuan, the Chinese defence rose to the occasion, with nine blocks overall compared to just one from Argentina.
Both teams had lost five-setters on the opening night of first-round action in Ningbo, reflecting again just how close teams are in terms of pure ability at the top of the sport.
While the South Americans were ahead 6-4 overall between the two nations, they hadn't actually met across the net in seven years.

Interestingly the Chinese came to the Beilun Sport and Art Centre on an 0-4 run against South American opponents that dates right back to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where they had downed Venezuela 3-2.
And so that run was ended.
Chuan in particular has stamped his class on both of China's outings in the first round, having led scoring with 17 points in the 3-2 loss to Bulgaria on Friday night. But his serving skills have also been a highlight thanks to their pace and precision.
The real test now comes on Sunday against the world number two-ranked USA, who've won both their first-round matches so far and are already cementing their place as one of the VNL favourites.

Krakow, Poland , May 2016, 2018 Michael Kubiak, Poland’s captain fantastic, brilliantly led from the front as Russia were blown away in straight sets (25-15 25-23 25-23) to delight a packed house in Krakow. 
The wing spiker was inspirational for the home side, weighing in with 19 points and powering his side forward as they made it two wins from two in the VNL. 
Kubiak was the star but it a hugely impressive all-round performance from the Poles - Lukasz Kaczmarek was also on fire and finished with 16 points - who were roared on by 11,000 fans at the atmospheric Tauron Arena. 
New coach Vital Heynen would have been apprehensive about Russia’s giant Dmitriy Muserskiy following his own blockbusting start in the demolition of Canada on Friday but the dangerous 29 year-old was kept relatively quiet - he ended up with 17 which was simply not enough to stem the Polish tide.
Romanas Shkulyavichus and Alexander Markin both weighed in with seven points yet there were not enough sizable contributions from the rest of the squad who must now dust themselves down ahead of their next match with Korea. 
Muserskiy's serves may have topped 120 kph but his team-mates were unable to assert consistent streams of pressure to knock Kubiak and friends off their game. 
It was the 50th meeting of these two European superpowers - Poland’s only ever Olympic volleyball gold came against the Russians in 1976 - with both teams entering the fevered atmosphere in fine form following impressive opening match victories. 
Poland may be carrying the weight of an expectant nation but for Russia, who are missing key players for this inaugural VNL competition, the pressure was undoubtedly on. 
Beating Canada on Friday was a superb start and helped get Muserskiy into the swing straight away. The middle blocker started very well here in what was a tight, power packed beginning.  
Polish coach Heynen saw a number of his stars all contribute in helping swat aside Korea in straight sets - Artur Szalpuk (16), Jakub Kochanowski (12), Dawid Konarski (10) and Aleksander Sliwka (10) - so he would have been delighted to see the likes of captain Kubiak and Bartosz Bednorz come to the party early on and help establish an early 15-11 lead.
The Russians were really struggling to establish a foothold in the game - Poland’s speed of movement and tactical awareness setting them apart. 
Kubiak was serving at 116 kph - he was literally too hot to handle. 
Muserskiy was being kept quiet, mainly down to his team’s inability to maintain a service run and the quality of Poland’s overall play and relentless pressure which helped them ease into a comprehensive first set lead.
The workload was being shared and the momentum was, undoubtedly, with the home side. Russia needed a good start to the second - yet Muserskiy’s very first serve smashed into the net. 
Coach Sergei Shilapniko must have begun to fear the worst and although his team managed to settle down, Poland’s impressive form in the opener continued apace. 
The challenge was to keep the heat on. 
There was a four point cushion for Heynen as the first technical time-out was called yet Muserskiy began to find his feet from the service line allowing the Russians to draw level at 10-10. 
Poland were unable to reproduce the red-hot form of the first set and when they fell 14-16 down, now was the time to see if they really were contenders for the title. 
Kubiak was less effective and when another thumping spike from Muserskiy smashed him on the head, the Polish skipper needed to galvanize his troops or risk allowing Russia back into the contest. 
At 22-22, the match was on a knife-edge but a brilliant block from Piotr Nowakowski gave the home team two set points before the middle-blocker unleashed a devastating spike to seal the set. 
Kubiak came to the fore in the third, dragging himself all over the court and helping produce some wonderful passages of play. 
The Polish fans in the stands were playing their part, singing and dancing their hearts out as their team eased into a 17-12 lead, a position of power which stayed in their grasp until the very end. 
A brilliant block from the skipper helped set up four match points and although two went begging, it was left to the excellent Kaczmarek to seal the deal.

Rouen, France, May 2016, 2018 - Australia conceded its second defeat in Saturday's action at the men's Nation League as Lincoln Williams scored 18 points in a 3-0 sweep at the hands of Iran (25-23, 25-23, 25-21).

Iran, in their usual style, didn't play with much fanfare but coach Kolakovic's men proved once again a well-oiled machine as Ali Shafiei yielded 17 points, including 3 blocks and 2 aces.

Shafiei had a large support crew but special mention needs to go to Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi (8 spikes, 1 block, 2 aces) as well as Amir Ghafour (6 points).

Opposite spiker Williams was the most gallant in defeat, top-scoring at 18 ahead of Luke Smith (12 points) but the 24-year old misfired and struggled against a solid Iran block.

After losing their opening Nations League games on Friday, both team were after their first win of the season. It was also a matter of regional domination as Iran and Australia met for the third time in a world competition (one win each).

After troubling hosts France (3-1) the day before, Iran started strongly on the back of an interesting run behind the line by middle blocker Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi (5-9). But it wasn't enough to hold off their Asian counterparts as the Aussies clawed back into the game as Lincoln Alexander Williams managed yet another powerful spike (14-12). Sneakily, Igor Kolakovic's men remained within reach of Australia only to leapfrog in front at the business end of the first set (25-23).

The Volleyroos started the second set strongly but Iran, thanks to its efficient block led by Ali Shafiei, managed to keep composure (6-6). Both teams fought tooth and nails as Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi levelled at 14-14. Two spikes from Williams then sent Australia in front but the 2007 Asian champs couldn't remain there despite an impressive double block from Max Staples... In a brilliant rally, Iran came once again from behind and closed the deal as Ali Shafiei stole the set with a powerful spike (25-23).

It was more of the same in the third as Iran proved highly efficient, thanks largely to a dominating block (6-4). And when Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi found the target, there was nothing from stopping Iran to claim its maiden victory. Not Smith's spike at 13-10, not even Shafiei's wide attempt at 18-14. With the wind in their sails, Iran sealed the deal with another misfire by Williams (25-21).

Kraljevo, Serbia, May 26, 2018.  In the 66th encounter between Italy and Brazil it was the Azzurri captain who consistently made the difference when it mattered.  While setter Simone Giannelli expertly provided the ammunition, more often than not it was Ivan Zaytsev who finished the points that resulted in an important 3-2 win for Italy (18-25, 25-19, 25-21, 24-26, 15-8).
After scoring 20 points against Germany, Zaytsev was in equally fine form scoring 32 points across the five sets.  A true showman, the crowd enjoyed him jokingly asking for a challenge after serving a ball into the back wall of the hall.  Blengini Gianlorenzo will rightly say that his team should have got it done in the 4th set, but Brazil came fighting back and forced the tie-breaker.  However in the deciding 5th set there was really only one team that were going to win as Italy dominated throughout and it was fitting that their setter crafted the final point to take the win with a reverse one handed tip shot.
Whilst their star players will rightly take most of the plaudits, in truth this was a real team performance from Italy with players across the board producing when it mattered.  Evidenced by the ace count, where they outscored Brazil 14-7, and had five players registering two or more aces in the match.
The Brazilian starting line-up brought four changes (three plus the starting libero) from their opening win but regardless they started as they had left off against Germany.  Brazil have now won the first set in each of their last 14 matches at major world level, however unusually they failed to convert on this occasion.  Mauricio Borges Almeida Silva top scored for Brazil with 14, who showed a far greater spread of their points across the nine players who started sets, as the coach continued to switch things up.
This match may just be one of 120 in the Round Robin Phase of this inaugural Volleyball National League, but it also a rematch of both the Athens 2004 and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games final.  These two teams may well face each other again in the competition, but that will be further down the road.  Next up Brazil will face Germany tomorrow, followed by Italy against Serbia.
Brazil led at both the technical time-outs (8-5 and 16-14) in the first set, largely due to the middle power provided from Isac Santos. Apart from some exquisite moments of brilliance from Simone Giannelli, Italy were not really in the set from start to finish.  Then up stepped Brazils Leonardo Ferreira Do Nascimento for his first involvement in a world level competition and he did not disappoint, delivering an ace straight to the floor to secure the first set by 7 points for his side.
The second set was where Ivan Zaytsev and his side really got going.  They came out unchanged in personnel, but there was a complete change with their intent.  Brazils coach switched things up as the set approached double figures, bringing on setter William Arjona and their top scorer from their first match Wallace De Souza, subsequently taking the setter to the back row.  However, the Italian lead just continued to grow – halted only briefly by a monster serve from Isac Santos measured at 122.4 kmph.  The set ended with a touch being called by the Challenge system off an Osmany Juantorena spike, much to the disbelief of the reigning Olympic Champions Brazil.

The third set started with one of those points that you can watch again and again, with both teams scrambling around and showing invention in equal measure.  Make sure you check out the match replay for the rally starting at 1-2 to Brazil in the third.  That point went the way of Brazil and so did the first part of the set.  Italy clawed their way back and a hat-trick of aces from their captain established a lead at 13-10.  Gabriele Nelli came on in the twenties and matched the feat of his captain earlier in the set by scoring a hat-trick of aces and with that the set was pretty much secured – it ended 25-21.

Trailing 1-2, Brazils coach Renan Dal Zotto resorted to his tried and tested six from their first match win against the Germans and in the early part of the set it seemed to make the difference.  As the set grew on, so did the confidence of the Azzurri.  But in the twenties their structure seemed to desert them and despite saving a couple of set points some powerful blocking from the team in Gold took the set for them 26-24 to level the match.

The fifth set was generally a tense affair, but through the composure of Giannelli, the power of Zaytsev and with Juantorena coming more to the fore they had an 8-3 at the change of ends.  Italy powered on and there was no way back for Brazil – even with their so-called strongest team on the court for the conclusion.
Kraljevo, Serbia, May 26, 2018.  Serbia take their first win of the new Volleyball Nations League against a resilient Germany with Drazen Luburic scoring 21 points, excelling in attack from both front and back court.  After going a set down, the home side started to fire up the crowd and slowly took control by attacking through all channels to secure a 3-1 win (19-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-14).  
With the teams being 10th (GER) and 11th (SRB) in the world ranking it was always going to be close, but the changes made by both coaches led to a quite unpredictable match.  Coming into the game Serbia were on a five-match losing streak at major world level and despite a sluggish start it was evident they were keen to put that behind them.  Coming from the bench, captain Marko Ivovic led his side showing composure at key times, but the star man was top scoring Drazen Luburic and all eyes will be on tomorrow to see who starts as Opposite Hitter in their next match.
Uros Kovacevic also excelled throughout with 17 points, but he did get lucky after a comical moment provided him with an ace when one of his serves was going a long way wide but hit a retreating Simon Hirsch who could not get out of the way in time.  Another standout player was Srecko Lisinac who produced a couple of stunning middle attacks, often grounding the ball inside the German three meter area.
With only Tobias Krick and Lukas Kampa keeping their starting slots after the loss the previous day to Italy, they will have been pleased with the start they made.  However, their level could not be sustained and Serbia soon found their rhythm.  Germany have now lost successive major world level matches for the first time since 2016. With only two players reaching double figures in points, and no-one scoring more than the 11 scored by Daniel Malescha, the German attack was often stifled by the Serbian block defence.
Serbia now lead the series between the two teams 6-4 in major world level encounters and will go into tomorrow’s match against Italy a little more confident but knowing a win is needed if they are too seriously challenge in the Volleyball National League this season. Germany will face Brazil in the early match and will hope that they can turn their fortunes around against the Olympic champions.
With the first set score 11-5 to the away side, Nikola Grbić decided he had seen enough and brought his captain on through position 4. There was an instant response but it only lasted a few points and before they knew it Germany had 9 set points to take the first set. Serbia saved a number of them making ominous signs of what was to come in the 2nd set, but Germany held out and took the opener 25-19.
Serbia started like a different team in the second set, keeping their captain on the court to steer the ship. With Srecko Lisinac starting to get into the game after not getting any of the ball in the first set Serbia started to show their quality leading 16-13 at the second technical. A sollid serving run from the Serbian captain saw them extend their lead and Germany brought on Marcus Böhme to try and regain control of the middle of the net, but it was his two consecutive aces which initially caught the eye. In the end, the Serbian lead was too much and they levelled the match.
Andrea Giani started with Böhme in the third set knowing he had to provide more blocking threat to the Serbian attack and with him and Tobias Krick through the middle it worked as Germans hands got on a lot more of the ball helping their defence work around it. Serbia brought on Petar Krsmanovic for his first Volleyball Nations League action and he went on a strong serving run and grasped control of the set for the home side. In a set were Serbia doubled the attack points of Germany, they ran our worthy winners to 16 points.
Germany's coach rang the changes for the fourth set looking to force the deciding set. He could also be heard demanding more variety from his servers and attackers at a time out, but it was not to be as the home crowd cheered on their side to an important victory, dominating the final set 25-14.
Rouen, France, May 26, 2018 - France made it two for two at home as Kevin Tillie stole the show in Saturday's with a gritty 3-1 victory over Japan (25-16, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22) at the 2018 Nations League.

Playing some wonderful volleyball along the way, showing plenty of agility and guile in attack, Les Bleus turned to Kevin Tillie to provide the spark they needed to get rid of a solid Japanese side. The Outside hitter from Beijing VB provided 17 points on his own, including two blocks and one ace.

Stephen Boyer (15 points) and Jonas Aguenier (13 points) were also instrumental.

The star on the night for Japan was Opposite spiker Yuji Nishida with 15 points while middle blocker Kentaro Takahashi chipped in with a haul of 9 that included a team-leading two blocks. 

With victories over Iran (3-1) and Australia (3-0) respectively, both France and Japan headed into Saturday's game hoping to double their wins in the competition. Statistics favoured the home side as Les Bleus have won 28 of their previous 33 encounters with the Asian outfit in world level major tournaments. But there was a glimmer of hope for the Japanese: France have lost only one of their last 14 major world level fixtures played in front of a home crowd in France, a 3-1 defeat against... Japan at the 2016 World League.

Once again, against their favourite victim, the home side jumped to an early 5-1 lead. Straight off the mark, Kevin Tillie and Stephen Boyer were on target and the Japanese struggled as they were being picked apart by the high flying hitters (16-8). And, despite a few time outs, coach Nakagaichi's men remained unresponsive as they collapsed against a well-oiled gallic machine (19-10). A last ditch effort by the Japanese, followed by a gritty rally, entertained the faint hope of an upset but the French easily claimed the first set after a deft Kevin Le Roux play (25-16).

Japan - finally - turned things around at the beginning of the second set as France misfired and the Asian outfit raced to a 5-1 advantage. But France are a formidable opponent and Les Bleus quickly hit back to level at 6-6. In front of a partisan crowd, Laurent Tillie's men failed however to use the momentum and let Japan, led by libero Yuji Nishida, jump ahead (16-12). Once again, the French clawed back into the game as Boyer hit spike after spike (22-19) but it just wasn't enough as Boyer sent his service in the net (25-20).

Another strong start from Les Bleus gave the home side an early lead (6-3) in the third. But, once again, France failed to make the best of their chances and let their opponents back into the game after Julien Lyneel hit it wide (12-11). It wasn't enough, however, to disrupt the home side and, when Nishida didn't hit the target Tillie sealed the deal with a powerful spike (25-20).

But any hope of a Japanese comeback in the fourth set was quickly dismissed with Barthélémy Chinenyeze coming off the bench to land a couple of huge spikes to help France establish a comfortable 4-point lead at the first technical time out (10-6). With the wind in their sails, the French were unstoppable as Boyer split Japan's block (16-14). Les Bleus remained on top thanks to a Masahiro Sekita mistake (25-22).

Krakow, Poland , May 26 - Stephen Maar topped the scoring for Canada who put their opening match misery behind them to overpower Korea in straight-sets (25-20 25-17 25-19) and set themselves up perfectly for a clash with Poland on Sunday. 

Maar may have ended this straightforward victory with 12 points but there were also impressive contributions from Graham Vigrass (11 points) and Bradley Gunter (eight points) as the Canadian, who were excellent at the net earning eight blocks to just one from their opponents, recovered from losing to Russia on Friday by eventually seeing off a Korea side who battled hard but were ultimately outclassed. 
Jiseok Jung with 11 points was the stand-out performer for Korea though too many errors, especially on serve, was their ultimate undoing and with Russia next up, those mistakes will need to be eradicated if a clean sweep of defeats is to be avoided. 
With both teams suffering difficult starts to their VNL campaigns, it was imperative that improvements were the order of the day. 

Canada came into the clash as favorites - their power game with an emphasis on high, hard hitting should have been too much for a Korean side whose approach is based around speed and accuracy.
Canadian captain Tyler Sanders, who plays his club volleyball in Poland, would have been pleased with a start which saw his side move 13-8 ahead with Gunter, who bagged 15 points in Friday’s defeat to Russia, and Vigrass both contributing well. 
Sung-Min Moon began promisingly for the Koreans and it was his tenacity and doggedness which characterized the team spirit which saw their opponents restricted and unable to stretch out a comprehensive lead. 
Too often, however, solid play wasn’t backed up with a serve and when Nicholas Hoag smashed home after initially producing a brilliant block to make it 22-16, the writing was very much on the wall. 
One set point was saved but when the next chance arose, Gunter rose superbly to put coach Stephane Antiga’s team in the driving seat. An impressive 17 spikes from the Canadians was key although six service errors from both also told its own story.  
Canada were producing the kind of form which saw the USA beaten to the bronze medal in last year’s World League though the second set was scrappy with more mistakes creeping in on both sides of the net. Sanders finally opened his account to snatch the lead away from Korea and make it 10-9 in what continued to be a very tight encounter. 
Yet the Canadians continued to hold the upper hand with the points being nicely spread out in what was a supreme team effort from Antiga’s side. Korean wing spiker Jung was doing his best but, ultimately, was fighting a losing battle. 
Midway through the third set, Korea had just one block compared to five from Canada with the error count for both teams hitting 34. 
The Korean serve, however, kept letting them down and stopped Kim Hochul’s men from making inroads into their opponent’s lead which was beginning to look insurmountable and the result was confirmed by a superb Hoag block on match point.

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VolleyRuller96    166

after 2 played matches

1. FRANCE is automaticaly qualified as final 6 Host.
2. TOP 5 TEAMS after the preliminary round qualify for the final round.
3. If France is among the top 5 teams , THE 6-th RANKED TEAM also qualifies.

4. The 12 CORE TEAMS can not be relegated.

4. The WEAKEST PLACED  CHALLENGER team may be relegated from the competition if they lose the relegation playoff against the FIVB Challenger Cup (to be  played at a later date) winner.

Tie-Break Criteria:

1.Matches Won/Lost Ratio (MW/ML)
2. Points Achieved (3 PTS = 3:0 or 3:1 win ; 2 PTS = 3:2 win ; 1PTS = 2:3 defeat ; 0PTS = 0:3 or 1:3 defeat)
3. Set Ratio.



  Nation MW ML PTS SET 
1. :POL  2 0 6 6:0
2. :FRA QUALIFIED                               2 0 6 6:2
3. :ITA  2 0 5 6:3
4. :USA                                     2         0        5       6:3
5. :CHN  1 1 4 5:3
6. :BRA  1 1 4 5:3
7. :IRI  1 1 3


8. :JPN  1 1 3 4:4
9. :RUS  1 1



10. :CAN CHALLENGER                    1 1 3 3:3
11. :SRB  1 1 3 3:4
12. :BUL CHALLENGER   1 1 2 4:5
13 :ARG  0 2 1 2:6
14 :GER  0 2 0 2:6
15 :AUS CHALLENGER 0 1 0 1:6
16 :KOR CHALLENGER  0 1 0 0:6

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VolleyRuller96    166

MEN'S Week 1, day 3 SCHEDULE (27 MAY 2018)

all times are CEST


10:00 :BUL Bulgaria  :ARG Argentina

13:30 :CHN China - :USA United States

15:00 :IRI Iran - :JPN Japan

16:00 :POL Poland - :CAN Canada

16:00 :BRA Brazil :GER Germany

18:00 :FRA France - :AUS Australia

19:00:KOR South Korea - :RUS Russia
20:00 :SRB Serbia - :ITA Italy 

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