Host Germany and Cuba dominate opening day action at Berlin Olympic Qualifier

13 June 2012

Berlin, Germany, June 8, 2012 – World No 5 Cuba and Host No 13 Germany picked up wins on the first day of action at the FIVB Men's World Olympic Qualifying Tournament at Max- Schmeling Hall in Berlin, Germany on Friday.


 Cuba took over the spirited Czech Republic 3-1 (27-29, 25-23, 25-23, 25-21) in 115 minutes, while Germany hammered India 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-) in front of 2.100 spectators.


 The second day features a tough encounter between Germany and Cuba in what is described as the early final for the Olympic decider. Cuba have won the last 11 out of 14 matches against Germany including the last matches at the 2010 World League. Overall Cuba lead the head to head match up 19-8.


 Czech Republic play India seeking first victory to regain the hopes of the Olympic ticket. The Czech Republic beat India 3-0 in their only previous encounter at the 1952 World Champs.


The four-team round-robin competition has one berth for the London 2012 Olympic Games for the winner of the tournament that ends on Sunday June 10.


Cuba v Czech Republic


 Cuba scored a 3-1 win (27-29, 25-23, 25-23, 25-21) over spirited Czech Republic on the first day of action in the FIVB World Olympic Qualifications at Max- Schmeling Hall. Wilfredo Leon and Yenry Bell spearheaded the Czech assault with 16 and 15 points, respectively as best scorers of their team in the comprehensive victory. Czech’s Jan Stokr was the match scorer with impressive 29 pts.


 This is the eighth victory for the Cubans over their European opponent in 11 matches in their history.


 Cuba took the lead right from the beginning. They put the Czech Republic with strong serving and blocking under pressure while the Europeans first struggled to come in the game till they won the first set after a great fight. Cuba arranged their blockers and tight defence to rebound with three successive sets to win the match.


 “We are happy to win the opening match. We know that we have to play better tomorrow, though. We had too many ups and downs during the game and just made too many mistakes. Our service wasn´t that good and the block weren’t efficient enough.” Cuba coach Orlando Samuels said after the match.


The young Cuban captain Wilfredo Leon was happy to lead the team for the victory being also his team scorer.  

“It was a very good game; our team did a good job. We expected a tough match; it was a good start in the tournament for us before the stronger match tomorrow.


 “It was a tough game for us. We knew from the beginning that we had to play well. We had a great comeback in the first set, but we lost the second one because of some faults.” Czech coach Stewart Bernard said.


Germany v India


 Host Germany showed a good start in the Olympic qualification tournament in Berlin. World ranked 13 downed No 30 India 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-15) at Max- Schmeling Hall in Berlin, Germany on Friday.


 Jochen Schöps (GER) was on top of all scorers making 16 points, meanwhile Singh Gurinder was the best scorer on Indian side with 10 points.


 Germany quickly took the charge in the first set. The team succeeded with strong services and attacks as the Indians couldn´t handle. Lead by Captain Björn Andrae the Germans let the Asian opponent barely score and pulled away to a 25-16 win.


The Germans extended their lead in the second set. At 7-6 India temporary got to draw level but then again it was Germany who made the important points. The Indians, now stronger than during the first set, kept up better than before indeed but they couldn’t get the chance to pass the Germans, mainly caused by the less physical matters, which lead to another set defeat.


In the third set Germany proved to be the superior team again. The strong service caused big problems in India´s defence so that the Asians could barely oppose. Germany´s excellent effort didn´t fade despite of their obvious lead. Finally it was Germany´s Jochen Schöps who covered the third match point 25-15 and closed the match with 3-0.


 “I’m very happy with the victory. It was important for us to start this tournament with a 3-0, the success gives us confidence. The team showed a good performance and everyone could see they were having fun during the game.” German Coach Vital Heynen said

India Coach G.E. Sridharan said: “It is the first time for us being in Europe and participating in the Olympic-qualifying tournament. We had hoped to play better, but I´m still happy with my team. This tournament shows that we need more contests against European teams. “



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