FIVB Men’s Challenger Cup: Portugal Wins Pool A; Cuba Also Clinches Semis Bid

2018 FIVB MEN’S CHALLENGER CUP:

  • June 20-24, 2018
  • Matosinhos, Portugal

FORMAT:

  • What’s on the line?
    • The winning team of the tournament will get to face the lowest ranked challenger team from the 2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League.
      • Whichever team wins that match will make the 2019 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League
  • Six teams are split into two pools (three in each)
    • The six are made up of the host nation (Portugal), South American qualifier (Chile), Asian qualifier (Kazakhstan), North American qualifier (Cuba) and Golden European League qualifiers (Estonia & Czech Republic)
    • The top two teams from each three-team pool will move on to the semifinals
      • Pool A#1 vs. Pool B#2 & Pool B#1 vs. Pool A#2

RESULTS:

Pool A:

  • World Rankings: #30 Portugal, #32 Estonia, #35 Kazakhstan

PORTUGAL DEF. KAZAKHSTAN 3-0

  • Portugal def. Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-16)
  • Portugal improves to 2-0; Kazakhstan falls to 0-2

The Portuguese side wrapped up the Pool A title in front of their home crowd by sweeping Kazakhstan. That sends them to the semifinal round where they get Pool B runner-up Cuba for a spot in the championship. For Kazakhstan, their journey in the event comes to a close as they fall short of a bid to the 2019 Volleyball Nations League.

Portugal did not garner much of an edge in spikes (32-31) or blocks (8-5), but were clearly the top serving side and notched nine more aces (11-2). One detail that was created from the aggressive serve was that it put Kazakhstan in more uncomfortable possessions as they logged six more team errors. The losing side did see a star performance from Maxim Michsenko (16 points), but Kazakhstan failed to find other options as much as Portugal did with Caique Oswaldo Ferreira Da Silva (11 points), Lourenco Martins (11 points) and Valdir Sequeira (10 points).

Pool B:

  • World Rankings: #16 Cuba, #27 Czech Republic, #41 Chile

CUBA DEF. CHILE 3-1

  • Cuba def. Chile 3-1 (38-36, 22-25, 31-29, 25-19)
  • Cuba improves to 1-1; Chile falls to 0-2

In an absolute battle of a four-set match, Cuba moved past Chile to finish as the runner-up in Pool B and claim a spot in the semifinals. While Chile is eliminated, Cuba will take on the winner of Pool A (Portugal) in the elimination round.

Cuba could not find rhythm at the service line, an advantage for Chile, but they did win the battle of spike (73-57) and block (15-6). The match could have easily shifted though had sets one or three gone the other way, as they almost did going to 30 points. Instead, the culmination of the two led to a let-down for Chile in the fourth. Tomas Parraguire (18 points) did all that he could in the losing effort, but the prowess of Miguel Angel Lopez (25 points) and Osniel Lazaro Melgarejo Hernandez (21 points) were too much in leading Cuba to victory.

STANDINGS:

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1 Portugal 2 0 6 6 0 MAX 150 113 1.327
2 Estonia 1 1 3 3 4 0.750 149 161 0.925
3 Kazakhstan 0 2 0 1 6 0.167 144 169 0.852

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1 Czech Republic 2 0 6 6 0 MAX 150 112 1.339
2 Cuba 1 1 3 3 4 0.750 178 184 0.967
3 Chile 0 2 0 1 6 0.167 159 191 0.832

Full Schedule:

Pool A:

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
20 Jun 21:00 3–0 Estonia 25–19 25–16 25–20 75–55
21 Jun 18:00 3–1 Kazakhstan 25–22 19–25 25–19 25–20 94–86
22 Jun 21:00 0–3 Portugal 23–25 19–25 16–25 58–75

Pool B:

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
20 Jun 18:00 0–3 Czech Republic 19–25 22–25 21–25 62–75
21 Jun 21:00 3–0 Chile 25–15 25–17 25–18 75–50
22 Jun 18:00 1–3 Cuba 36–38 22–25 31–29 19–25 108–117

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
23 Jun 15:00 0–0
23 Jun 18:00 0–0

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
24 Jun 15:00 0–0

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
24 Jun 18:00 0–0

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