Russian national team continues to show bad form in the preliminary round of World League. Second defeat in a row leaves favorites only a third place in the group A standings.
Last year’s champions has started their campaign to defend the title 4 weeks ago in Japan with the squad missing some top players and even head coach Vladimir Alekno. So it came as no surprised that inexperienced team was making lots of errors and played 3 five-set games with 2 wins and defeat from Cuba. Alekno expressed disappointment with the performance of some players who were later sent home from the squad and of Italian coach of Russian team Sergio Buzzato.
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For the second round of group A games Russia has brought all the star names and hoped to improve on the results. However even the first game against young and ambitious Serbian team has shown that Russian squad needs to improve a lot on their game if it wants to qualify for the “Final 6”. Serbian team led by undoubtable future stars Uros Kovacevic and Aleksandar Atanasijevic has outplayed their experienced opponents in every department of the game, especially rare thing for Russia is to be beaten so soundly in points from block score 16-9. Serbian head coach Igor Kolakovic has told that: “Young players desire to succeed was a key for us in the crucial moments of this game.” On the other hand Russian players have shown to be far away from their last year’s winning form. But still the team will be hoping to get stronger with every game, next two matches with Japan and Cuba going to be very important for their chances of qualifying.
Serbia – Russia – 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-20, 25-23)
In the other pool A game Cuba has topped Japan by 3-1 and the current standings in the group A are:
- Serbia – 9 points
- Cuba – 8 p
- Russia -5 p
- Japan – 2