POOL A POOL B
Cuba 4-1* Italy 5-0* Brazil 3-2* Netherlands 4-1* Bulgaria 3-2* Yugoslavia 3-2* Argentina 3-2* Russia 2-3* USA 2-3 South Korea 1-4 Poland 0-5 Tunisia 0-5
1 B 10:00am - Netherlands def. Tunisia 15-4, 15-4, 15-2 2 B 12:30pm - Italy def. South Korea 15-13, 15-12, 15-8 3 B 4:00pm - Yugoslavia def. Russia 10-15, 15-13, 15-10, 15-11 4 A 7:30pm - Cuba def. Bulgaria 15-9, 15-7, 15-7 5 A 7:30pm - USA def. Poland 15-13, 15-6, 15-8 6 A 10:00pm - Argentina def. Brazil 9-15, 15-8, 16-14, 15-6
USA vs. POLAND
USA Wins Before Near Record Crowd
Playing before a crowd of 14,200 the United States shook off a slow start to post a 15-13, 15-6, 15-8 victory over Poland in men's volleyball action at the Omni Coliseum on Sunday. The USA, which competes in pool A, battled back from a 9-6 game one deficit to record a 15-13 win and then settled down to complete the 3-0 sweep. The crowd is the second largest that a USA men's team has ever played in front of, falling just short of the 14,786 that witnessed a USA-Cuba match in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1988. Mike LAMBERT led the USA offensive attack with 24 kills and 5 blocks. Bryan IVIE added 16 kills and 2 blocks for the Americans. Poland was led by Piotr GRUSZKA who had 10 kills.
Lloy BALL (USA) when asked if he ever dreamed of serving match point at the Olympic Games: "Every day is a dream for me. It's overwhelming to see my family up there in the nosebleed section cheering for me until they can't cheer anymore. It's also great that I can share this with 11 of my best friends."
YUGOSLAVIA vs. RUSSIA
Yugoslavia pulled off the first major upset in men's volleyball as it recorded a stunning 10-15, 15-13, 15-10, 15-11 victory over traditional Olympic Games power the Russian Federation in Athens. Russia appeared on its way to victory after posting a 15-10 win in game one, dropping game two 13-15 and then pulling out to a 10-4 lead in the third game. Yugoslavia then reeled off an 11-0 run to win the game 15-10. Yugoslavia controlled a majority of the action in game four in the 15-11 win. An emotional Vladimir BATEZ led Yugoslavia with 32 kills, while Vladimir GRBIC added 28 kills and 2 blocks. RUS received 31 kills from Stanislav DINEIKIN and 27 from Dmitri FOMEN.
"This was a terrible game for us," said Russian head coach Viatcheslav PLATONOV. "It's painful to see your team up 10-4 and lose the game 10-15."
Yugoslavia's Zoran GAJIC on what the win means: "Nothing if we don't win any more."
ARGENTINA vs. BRAZIL
Argentina upset defending gold medalist Brazil
Argentina was led by Marcos MILINKOVIC who recorded 37 kills and 2 blocks, while Guillermo QUAINI added 31 kills, 3 service aces and 2 blocks. Brazil, competing without captain Carlos GOUVEIA who suffered a calf injury last month, received 24 kills, 7 blocks and 2 service aces from Giovane GAVIO.
7 B 10:00am - Netherlands def. Russia 15-9, 15-9, 15-9 8 A 12:30pm - Bulgaria def. Brazil 15-11, 15-13, 15-8 9 A 4:00pm - USA def. Argentina 15-7, 15-8, 15-11 10 B 6:30pm - Italy def. Tunisia 15-9, 15-5, 15-1 11 B 7:30pm - Yugoslavia def. South Korea 15-5, 15-6, 16-14 12 A 10:00pm - Cuba def. Poland 15-13, 15-2, 15-13
USA vs. ARGENTINA
USA Surprises Argentina:
The United States rolled to a surprisingly easy victory over Argentina behind 22 kills from Mike LAMBERT on Tuesday at the University of Georgia in Athens. LAMBERT exceeded the 20-kill barrier for the second consecutive match in leading the USA to the 15-7, 15-8, 15-11 sweep. The United States, which improved to 2-0 in pool A play, also received 19 kills and 3 blocks from Bryan IVIE. Argentina was coming off an emotional victory over Brazil on Sunday, but didn't exhibit the same fire in today's loss. Marcos MILINKOVIC, who had 37 kills in the victory over Brazil, was held to only nine today. Alejandro ROMANO led Argentina with 10 kills and 5 blocks.
"I studied the other team before the match and Argentina wasn't ready," said United State captain Bob CTVRTLIK. "They were flat. They are a young team and coming off their biggest win ever against Brazil. In a long tournament, it is important to put a team down and keep them down. I'm happy to leave here in three games."
YUGOSLAVIA vs. SOUTH KOREA
Yugslovia Improves to 2-0:
Yugoslovia continued its outstanding play in pool B with a 15-5, 15-6, 16-14 victory over Korea on Tuesday in the Omni Coliseum. The victory raised Yugoslovia's record to 2-0, while Korea was swept for the second consecutive match in falling to 0-2. Yugoslovia used a pair of big runs in sets one and two and rallied to claim the final set. In set one, Korea had cut the deficit to 6-4 when Yugoslovia reeled off an 8-0 run to take a 14-5 lead in a set they eventually won 15-5. Set two featured more of the same as Korea jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Yugoslovia answered with an 8-0 run to take an 8-3 lead. Korea battled back to cut the margin to 9-6, but Yugoslovia scored the final 6 points of the set for a 15-6 win. Korea served for the set in game three, but could not convert and Yugoslovia overcame the 14-13 deficit on its way to a 16-14 victory.
"I think that we played the match on a very high level," said Yugoslovian head coach Zoran GAJIC. "The Korean team is very quick, but when we served well points came our way. Luckily we had more energy than Korea."
CUBA vs. POLAND
Cuba Overcomes Stubborn Poland Team
Powerhouse Cuba held off a stubborn Polish team to post a 15-13, 15-2, 15-13 victory in pool A action on Tuesday in the Omni Coliseum. Cuba improved to 2-0 in pool play, while the loss dropped Poland to 0-2 in competition. Joel DESPAIGNE led a balanced offensive attack with 21 kills while Freddy BROOKS added 20 kills and 2 blocks. Piotr GRUSZKA led Poland with 20 kills and Krzysztof STELMACH had 15 kills and 1 service ace. Poland had opportunities to win both the first and third sets, but Cuba used its experience and powerful offensive attack to pull away at the end of both sets.
"This is the keenest competition the Olympic Games has ever seen," said Cuban head coach Juan DIAZ. "No one knows who is going to win the gold medal, nothing is set."
ITALY vs. TUNISIA
Italy Pounds Tunisia:
Italy set up an early first-place showdown in pool B against the Netherlands with a convincing 15-9, 15-5, 15-1 victory over Tunisia on Tuesday at the University of Georgia in Athens. The powerful Italians substituted freely throughout the course of the match, but still maintained their dominance. Italy, which improved to 2-0 in pool B, was led offensively by Andrea GIANI who had a team-high 22 kills and 3 blocks. Luca CANTAGALLI added 13 kills and 2 blocks. Tunisia, which is still seeking its first victory of the competition, was paced by Mohamed BAGHDADI who recorded 13 kills and 1 service ace.
"The match for us was important," said Italian head coach Julio VELASCO. "It was like practice and we had goal not to permit Tunisia to have 15 points. We made some mistakes that we can not do in a different match against a better team. This match today was good for Italy."
NETHERLANDS vs. RUSSIA
The Netherlands Sets Up Showdown With Italy: The Netherlands set up a possible showdown with Italy for the top spot in Group B with a 15-9, 15-9, 15-9 sweep of the Russian Federation in men's volleyball action in the Omni Coliseum on Tuesday. The victory improved the Netherlands record to 2-0, while Russia continued to struggle and dropped to 0-2 in the competition. The Netherlands will face Italy on Thursday (25 July), and pending the outcome of the Italy-Tunisia match today, the winner will assume the top spot in the group. The Netherlands used late runs in all three sets to pull away from the Russians. Olof VAN DER MEULEN, who is quickly establishing himself as one of the top players in the Olympic Games, led the Netherlands with 29 kills and 2 service aces. Guido GORTZEN added 26 kills and 3 blocks for the Dutch. Dmitri FOMIN led Russia with 28 kills and 3 blocks.
"This was a very tough match and the level of play was high," said the Netherlands head coach Joop ALBERDA. "I'm confident about the way my team played from start to finish."
BULGARIA vs. BRAZIL
Bulgaria Stuns Brazil
Bulgaria continued the recent rash of upsets by defeating the defending Olympic Games champion Brazil 15-11, 15-13, 15-8 in Group A play on Tuesday in the Omni Coliseum. Bulgaria rebounded from an opening round loss to Cuba to improve to 1-1 in group play, while Brazil is still seeking its first victory after falling to 0-2 in the competition. Martin STOEV paced the Bulgarian attack with 21 kills, 4 service aces and 2 blocks. Lubomir GANEV added 17 kills, three service aces and 2 blocks. Brazil was led by Alexandre SAMUEL who had 20 kills and 3 blocks.
13 A 10:00am - Argentina def. Bulgaria 15-10, 15-8, 11-15, 15-10 14 B 12:30pm - Italy def. Netherlands 15-8, 15-8, 15-13 15 A 4:00pm - Brazil def. Poland 15-7, 15-11, 15-8 16 B 6:30pm - Yugoslavia def. Tunisia 15-4, 15-17, 15-3, 15-3 17 A 7:30pm - Cuba def. USA 4-15, 15-9, 14-16, 15-8, 18-16 18 B 10:00pm - Russia def. South Korea 15-8, 15-4 16-14
CUBA vs. USA
Cuba Dumps USA in Thriller: In the most exciting match of the competition, Cuba held off a United States match point and rallied to post a 4-15, 15-9, 14-16, 15-8, 18-16 victory in pool A action at the Omni Coliseum on Thursday. The victory gives Cuba sole possession of first place in pool A with a record of 3-0, while the United States slips to 2-1 and is tied with Argentina for second place. Using the rally score system in the fifth set, which means a team doesn't have to be serving to score a point, Cuba trailed 16-15 with the United States serving but Ihosvany HERNANDEZ tied the set with a blistering shot across court. Joel DESPAIGNE gave Cuba a 17-16 lead with a kill and Bryan IVIE hit the antenna with his attempt down the line clinching the match for the Cubans. DESPAIGNE led Cuba with 27 kills and 1 service ace, while Osvaldo HERNANDEZ added 19 kills and 5 blocks. IVIE led the United States with 24 kills, 5 blocks and 2 service aces.
"This match this evening was very important because both teams went in having two victories," said Cuban head coach Juan DIAZ. "It is very difficult to play against the USA in the United States. We were prepared for this match. The players played with confidence and determination."
Statistics USA CUBA Attacks 98 99 Attack % 80 83 Blocks 16 16 Digs 82 80 Aces 8 2 Service Errors 24 22
RUSSIA vs. SOUTH KOREA
Russia Records First Victory: The Russian Federation remained alive in the hunt for the medal round with a 15-8, 15-4, 16-14 victory over Korea in pool B action in the Omni Coliseum on Thursday. Russia, which dropped its first two matches of the competition to the Netherlands and Yugoslovia, improved to 1-2. Korea lost for the third straight time, but still remains mathematically alive for the fourth berth in the quarterfinals.
BRAZIL vs. POLAND
Brazil Finally Notches First Win It took three matches, but Brazil finally notched its first victory of the competition with a 3-0 decision over Poland in pool A play at the University of Georgia in Athens on Thursday. Brazil, which entered the competition as one of the leading medal contenders in the tournament, has been slowed by injuries to Max PEREIRA and Antonio GOUVEIA. The Brazilians finally unleashed their potent offensive attack in disposing of Poland 15-7, 15-11, 15-8. Giovane GAVIO paced Brazil with 24 kills, 4 blocks and 3 service aces. Marcelo NEGRAO added 13 kills and 5 blocks. Poland, which dropped to 0-3 in the pool play, was led by Piotr GRUSZKA with 18 kills. Final Score: BRA def. POL 15-7, 15-11, 15-8.
"I think the dynamics of the match were better today than in our other matches," said Brazilian head coach Jose GUIMARAES. "Max PEREIRA's re-entry into competition allowed us to play better offensively. We have improved our play and we will need to keep it up since we'll be facing the United States next. They are a strong team."
YUGOSLAVIA vs. TUNISIA
Argentina rebounded from a loss to the United States on Tuesday to record an impressive 15-10, 15-8, 11-15, 15-10 victory over Bulgaria in pool A play on Thursday in the Omni Coliseum. The victory improves Argentina's record to 2-1 in pool play and means that it will have to win only one of its two final matches against Cuba or Poland in order to advance to the medal round. The loss dropped Bulgaria's record to 1-2, but the team is still in control of its own destiny. Of the two teams that currently trail Bulgaria in the standings, Argentina has already beaten Brazil and has yet to face Poland. Jorge ELGUETA was brilliant for Argentina with 25 kills, 4 blocks and 1 service ace. Marcos MILINKOVIC added 17 kills and 2 blocks. Bulgaria was led by Ivaylo GAVRILOV who had 27 kills. Final Score: ARG def. BUL 15-10, 15-8, 11-15, 15-10.
"There was a lot of pressure on us to win this match because Bulgaria is such a rival to us," said Argentina head coach Daniel CASTELLANI. "In order to ensure our passage into the second round we will have to win one more match."
ITALY vs. NETHERLANDS
Italy Makes Statement in Rout of Netherlands
Italy made a bold statement by blasting the Netherlands 15-8, 15-8, 15-13 in pool B play at the Omni Coliseum on Thursday. Italy and the Netherlands are considered the top two teams in the Olympic Games, but the Italians made quick work of this match. The victory improved Italy's record to 3-0 as they took firm control of pool B. The Netherlands remains a strong contender for the medal round as this match marked its first loss of the competition. Italy started quickly in each set, jumping out to big leads and forcing the Netherlands out of its game. Andrea GIANI led a balanced Italian attack with 30 kills and 5 service aces, while Lorenzo BERNARDI added 20 kills, 3 blocks and 2 service aces. The Netherlands was led by Olof VAN DER MEULEN, who had 28 kills and one service Final Score: ITA def. NED 15-8, 15-8, 15-13.
"We are happy with this victory," said Italy head coach Julio VELASCO. "We didn't expect to win 3-0 and we know that the Netherlands can play much better. All of our efforts right now will be addressed to advancing to the quarterfinals."
Netherlands head coach Joop ALBERDA when asked if Italy and the Netherlands are the top two teams in the tournament: "I think 12 teams thought that when they arrived in Atlanta. Statistically over the last four years I think we are the best teams."
19 B 10:00am - Italy def. Russia 15-11, 15-6, 15-12 20 B 12:30pm - Netherlands def. Yugoslavia 15-7, 15-6, 15-9 21 A 4:00pm - Cuba def. Argentina 15-10, 15-12,15-9 22 A 6:30pm - Bulgaria def. Poland 15-4, 15-10,15-7 23 A 7:30pm - Brazil def. USA 15-11, 15-11,15-7 24 B 10:00pm - South Korea def. Tunisia 15-4, 15-6, 15-6
ITALY vs. RUSSIA
Italy Retains Top Seed:
Italy moved to within a match of capturing the top seed in Group B with a dominating 15-11, 15-6, 15-12 victory over the Russian Federation on Saturday in the Omni Coliseum. The victory improved the Italians record to 4-0 and put the team in position to capture the top seed with a victory over the Netherlands on Monday. Russia dropped to 1-3 with the loss, but can still reach the quarterfinals with a victory against Tunisia. Italy overwhelmed the Russians, and were not seriously challenged until the third set. Andrea GIANI turned in an fine performance for the Italians. He recorded 36 kills, 3 blocks and 3 service aces. All was not well for the Italians as starting attacker Vigor BOVOLENTA suffered a broken nose and his status for Monday's match is yet to be determined. Stanislav DINEIKIN posted 19 kills, 3 blocks and 1 service ace for Russia.
NETHERLANDS vs. YUGOSLAVIA
The Netherlands Moves into Second Place:
The Netherlands moved into a second place tie in Group B with a 15-7, 15-6, 15-9 victory over Yugoslovia on Saturday in the Omni Coliseum. Both the Netherlands and Yugoslovia are now 3-1 in pool play. Yugoslovia was attempting to set up a first-place showdown with undefeated Italy, but the loss ended that hope. Instead, Yugoslovia could slip to as low as third place in the standings. With the victory the Netherlands kept its slim hopes alive to finish as the number one seed in group B. Olof VAN DER MEULEN led the Netherlands with 27 kills, while Guido GORTZEN added 17 kills. Yugoslovia was paced by Vladimir GRBIC with 16 kills, 2 blocks and 1 service ace.
25 A 10:00am - Argentina def. Poland 7-15, 17-15,15-10, 15-9 26 B 12:30pm - Italy def. Yugoslavia 15-12, 15-8, 15-12 27 B 4:00pm - Russia def. Tunisia 15-9, 15-10,15-11 28 B 6:30pm - Netherlands def. Korea 15-4, 15-11,15-12 29 A 7:30pm - Bulgaria def. USA 15-11, 13-15,11-15, 15-5,15-12 30 A 10:00pm - Brazil def. Cuba 15-11, 15-10,15-11
USA vs. BULGARIA
Bulgaria Rallies Past United States
Bulgaria overcame a two sets to one deficit on its way to a 15-11, 13-15, 11-15, 15-5, 15-12 victory over the United States on Monday at the Omni Coliseum.
The win guarantees Bulgaria a spot in the quarterfinals, while the United States fell to fifth place in the standings after Brazil upset Cuba. Bulgaria finished pool A play with a 3-2 record and the United States dropped its third straight match in falling to 2-3.
Bulgaria turned to reserve setter Nikolay IVANOV in the fourth set, and he rallied the team to an easy 15-5 win. The fifth set remained close until Bulgaria overcame a 7-6 deficit with a 7-2 run and won the match on a kill by Martin STOEV.
Lubomir GANEV led Bulgaria with 35 kills and Martin TONEV added 7 blocks and 3 service aces. Tom SORENSEN led the United States with 27 kills off the bench.
"I am extremely satisfied," said Bulgarian head coach Bogdan KJUTCHOUKOV. "This was a very important victory for us. Both teams knew the price of the victory."
BRAZIL vs. CUBA
Brazil Upsets Cuba to Capture Final Berth
Brazil upset top-seeded Cuba 15-11, 15-10, 15-11 and earned a quarterfinal berth in pool A action on Monday at the Omni Coliseum.
Brazil, which dropped its first two matches of the tournament, posted its third-straight victory and finished 3-2. Cuba still maintained its number one seed in pool A and finished with a 4-1 record. The victory by Brazil eliminated the United States from quarterfinal competition.
With the victory, Brazil moved into second place in the final pool A standings. Bulgaria finished third and Argentina placed fourth.
ARGENTINA vs. POLAND
Argentina Secures Quarterfinal Berth
Argentina advanced to the quarterfinal round with a 7-15, 17-15, 15-10, 15-9 victory over Poland on Monday in the Omni Coliseum.
The win raises Argentina's record to 3-2 in pool A play, while Poland finished the competition with an 0-5 record.
Fighting self-described nerves, Argentina came out tentative against Poland. After dropping the first set and falling behind in the second, Argentina turned to Marco MILINKOVIC to turn the tables. MILINKOVIC finished with 31 kills to lead the comeback.
Poland was led by Piotr GRUSZKA who had 29 kills and 1 service ace.
"This was a very special match for us," said Argentina head coach Daniel CASTELLANI. "It enabled us to reach our committment to qualify as one of the top eight teams in the world. There was a lot of pressure and stress on us."
ITALY vs. YUGOSLAVIA
Italy Clinches Top Spot in Pool B
Italy completed pool play undefeaed with a 15-12, 15-8, 15-12 victory over Yugoslovia on Monday in the Omni Coliseum.
Italy, one of the pre-tournament favorites to capture a medal, rolled to a 5-0 record and did not drop a set during the preliminary competition. Yugoslovia finished with a 3-2 record during pool play and will also advance to the quarterfinals.
Italy, despite liberal substitutions throughout the course of the match, controlled the action. The Italians used both setters Marco MEONI and Paolo TOFOLI with equally productive results. TOFOLI started the contest and led Italy to the 15-12 first set win and also played in much of the Italians 15-12 third set victory. MEONI, who has started all four other preliminary matches, directed Italy to a 15-8 win in set two.
Andrea GIANI led Italy with 20 kills, while Samuele PAPI added 18 kills. Dorde DURIC paced Yugoslovia with 19 kills and Vladimir GRBIC had 17 kills, 1 block and 1 service ace.
"I am very satisfied having completed this round without a defeat," said Italy head coach Julio VELASCO. "We have proven ourselves to be one of the strongest teams in the Olympic Games. We wanted to establish good rhythm for the matches ahead."
RUSSIA vs. TUNISIA
Russia Secures Final Quarterfinal Berth
The Russian Federation wrapped up the final quarterfinal berth from pool B with a 15-9, 15-10, 15-11 victory over Tunisia at the University of Georgia in Athens.
Russia improved its record to 2-3 with the win and clinched the fourth, and final, spot in the quarterfinals. Tunisia dropped to 0-5 with the loss.
Russia used its superior height and blocking ability to post the 3-0 sweep. Stanislav DINEIKIN paced the Russian attack with 23 kills and 1 service ace, while Igor SHULEPOV had 20 kills and 7 blocks.
"Nothing unexpected happened during this Olympic Games," said Russian head coach Viatcheslav PLATONOV. "We had to play teams of the same level and every match could have been won or lost."
NETHERLANDS vs. KOREA
The Netherlands Routs Korea
The Netherlands used a strong performance from Mike VAN DE GOOR to defeat Korea and clinch second place in pool B on Monday at the University of Georgia in Athens.
VAN DE GOOR had 29 kills and 5 blocks, while Olof VAN DER MEULEN added 4 blocks and 2 service aces.
The victory improved the Netherlands record to 4-1 trailing only Italy, while the loss dropped Korea to 1-4 and eliminated them from quarterfinal consideration.
Korea was led by KIM Sang-Woo who had 17 kills, 3 blocks and 1 service ace.
"We are ready for the next rounds," said Guido GORTEN of the Netherlands. "We did not play well against Korea tonight, but we will be ready the next time. If all goes according to the seedings, I anticipate us playing Italy for the gold medal."
1 1:30pm - Yugoslavia def. Brazil 15-6, 15-5, 8-15, 14-16,15-1 2 4:00pm - Netherlands def. Bulgaria 16-14, 9-15,15-3, 15-13 3 7:30pm - Italy def. Argentina 12-15,15-9, 15-7, 15-4 4 10:00pm - Russia def. Cuba
YUGOSLAVIA vs. BRAZIL
Yugoslovia Upsets Brazil
Yugoslovia recorded a major upset with a 15-6, 15-5, 8-15, 14-16, 15-10 victory over defending Olympic champion Brazil in a hotly contested match on Wednesday at the Omni Coliseum.
Yugoslovia, which is competing in only its second Olympic Games, used a strong serving and blocking match to record the victory. Brazil showed why it is the defending champion by fighting back to force a fifth set, but in the end the defensive prowess of the Yugoslovians proved to be too much. The victory earns Yugoslovia a berth in the semifinals, where it will meet the winner of the Italy-Argentina match.
Vladimir BATEZ paced Yugoslovia with 35 kills, while Vladimir GRBIC added 31 kills and 3 blocks. Brazil, which now drops into the classification matches, was led by Alexandre SAMUEL who had 40 kills.
"There is nothing to compare to the Olympic Games," said Slobodan KOVAC (YUG). "But we still haven't said the last word."
NETHERLANDS vs. BULGARIA
Netherlands Fights off Bulgaria Challenge
The Netherlands turned back a stern challenge from Bulgaria in advancing to the semifinals with a 16-14, 9-15, 15-3, 15-13 victory on Wednesday at the Omni Coliseum.
The Netherlands will meet the winner of the Cuba-Russian Federation match in the semifinals, while Bulgaria slips to the classification matches.
The Netherlands was led by Olof VAN DER MEULEN, who recorded 25 kills and added a service ace. Bulgaria was paced by Lubomir GANEV, who had 19 kills and two service aces.
"Today was the day of the beautiful loss," said Bulgarian attacker Dimo TONEV. "We played our best match against the Netherlands in two years and we still lost."
8:00am - Brazil def. Argentina 15-10,15-3, 13-15,15-9 10:30am - Cuba def. Bulgaria 15-4, 15-12,16-17,15-12
BRAZIL vs. ARGENTINA
Brazil Wins; Plays Cuba for Fifth
Despite being without its best player, Brazil beat Argentina 3-1 in men's volleyball classification.
The defending gold medalists Brazilians, who have never finished worse than fifth in Olympic competition, avenged an earlier pool loss with the 15-10, 15-3, 13-15, 15-9 win. With the loss, the Argentines will play Bulgaria in the seventh-place match.
Although Brazil's best player, Marcelo NEGRAO, did not play, Fabio MARCELINO more than picked up the slack with a 53-kill performance including three service aces.
After losing the first two sets, the Argentines mounted a comeback to win the third set. The two teams were tied in the early going before Argentina ran to a 10-5 lead and then to 13-8. Nalbert BITENCOURT (BRA) came off the bench and sparked a 5-point run to tie the score at 13. A service ace by Argentina's Guillermo MARTINEZ and a Fernando BORRERO block forced a fourth set.
In the third set, Argentina fell behind 7-2 before coming back to tie at 7.The rally ended there as the team could only score twice more, falling 15-9.
"We had the spirit to win, but actually we were dead tired," said Javier WEBER, (ARG). "We played the best we can. Today was winnable, but not physically really because we were so tired. We had a little bad luck in the point system and we had to play Italy in the quarterfinals."
CUBA vs. BULGARIA
Cuba used aggressive serving to beat Bulgaria 3-1. In all, the Cubans had 14 service aces including six by Alain ROCA. With the win, Cuba will face Brazil in a rematch in the match for fifth.
Cuba took control early in the match with a decisive 15-4 win in the first set. However, the Bulgarians slowly gained momentum, losing 15-12 in the second. The Bulgarians, who did not qualify for the 1992 games, outlasted Cuba 17-15 in the third. Cuba regained control to win 15-12 in the fourth.
"All these matches are extremely hard for any team that is out of the final four. In addition, we played early in the morning after playing last night, and that is a hardship on any team," said Dimo TONEV (BUL).
12:00pm - Bulgaria def. Argentina 15-10,15-3, 13-15, 15-9 (Seventh Place) 2:30pm - Brazil def. Cuba 15-12,16-14,16-14 (Fifth Place) 7:30pm - Netherlands def. Russia 15-6, 15-6, 15-10 (Semifinal) 10:30am - Italy def. Yugoslavia 15-12, 8-15,15-6, 15-7 (Semifinal)
ITALY vs. YUGOSLAVIA
Italy Play for First-ever Gold Medal
Italy advanced to the gold medal match for the first time with a 15-12, 8-15, 15-6, 15-7 victory over Yugoslovia in a men's semifinal match on Friday in the Omni Coliseum.
Italy, a two-time world champion, will face the Netherlands for the gold medal on Sunday at 14:30 in the Omni Coliseum. It marks the first time that Italy has advanced to the gold medal match. Yugoslovia, making its second-ever appearance in the Olympic Games, has already guaranteed itself of its highest finish ever no matter the outcome of its bronze medal match versus the Russian Federation on Sunday.
The two teams split the first two sets, but the Italians wore down Yugoslovia and dominated play in sets three and four.
In set three, Italy jumped out to a 5-0 lead only to see Yugoslovia cut the deficit to 6-4. Italy then outscored Yugoslovia 9-2 to capture the set 15-6. Italy controlled set four from the outset using a 7-1 run to open the set. Yugoslovia got as close as 9-5, but the Italians answered with a 5-0 run to take a 14-5 lead. After Yugoslovia scored 2 points, Samuela PAPI recorded a kill to end the match.
NETHERLANDS vs. RUSSIA
The Netherlands Earns Second Straight Trip to Finals
With a convincing 3-0 sweep of the Russian Federation, the Netherlands has earned its second straight trip to the gold medal match. The 1992 silver medalists trailed only once in three sets in beating Russia 15-6, 15-6, 15-10.
The Netherlands jump started each set with big leads including a 7-3 start in the first set. The Russians managed to tie at six in the second set before giving up nine unanswered points. In the final set, the Netherlands built a 6-1 lead although the Russians applied pressure to draw to within three at 9-6, before losing 15-10.
The Dutch were led by Olof VAN DER MEULEN who had 22 kills and three aces. Russia's Dmitri FOMIN led with a match-high 23 kills.
"Normally, Italy is better and stronger than us. Hopefully we are preparing well for them. If we can catch them at 90 percent and we play 100 percent, we can win," said Ron ZWERVER (NED)
CUBA vs. BRAZIL
Although Brazil swept 3-0 to place fifth, it had to put down three different Cuban uprisings to do so. In the first set, Brazil blew out to a 14-4 lead, they couldn't get to set point until Cuba had reeled off eight straight points before falling 15-12. In the second set, the 1992 gold medal winner Brazilian team could not shake the Cubans with any kind of substantial lead before edging them 16-14. It was more of the same in the third set as the Brazilians powered to a 9-3 lead only to watch Cuba storm back and take the lead at 12-11 on a Alain ROCA (CUB) service ace. The teams traded points and it took Brazil six match point opportunities to finally quell Cuba 16-14. Brazil's fifth-place Olympic finish is its worst since 1980.
BULGARIA vs. ARGENTINA
Bulgaria Beats Argentina for Seventh Place
Bulgaria blew a two sets to zero lead and held off two match points in the fifth set to defeat Argentina 15-10, 15-10, 7-15, 7-15, 20-18 and capture seventh place in the Olympic volleyball tournament on Friday at the Omni Coliseum.
Argentina held leads of 16-15 and 17-16 in the deciding set, but a service error on one point and a Bulgarian kill on the other cost them the game-winning points. With the loss, Argentina earned eighth place in the Olympic Games.
Bulgaria bolted out to wins in the first two sets behind a fast-paced offensive attack, but Argentina rallied to capture the third and fourth sets to force the deciding fifth set.
Bulgaria was led by Lubomir GANEV with 21 kills and 3 service aces. Marcos MILINKOVIC paced Argentina with 21 kills, 5 blocks and 5 service aces.
"The team made a huge maturing step in this tournament. We were the youngest team in the tournament. We proved that we can play with the best teams in the world. We only need to play in a few more tournaments," said Daniel CASTELLANI, Argentina's head coach.
12:00pm - Yugoslavia def. Russia 15-8, 7-15, 15-8, 15-9 (Bronze Medal Match 2:30pm - Netherlands def. Italy 15-12, 9-15, 16-14, 9-15,17-15 (Gold Medal Match)
GOLD - NETHERLANDS
SILVER - ITALY
BRONZE - YUGOSLAVIA
Fourth - Russia