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Pool A: Brazil mount spectacular comeback against Bulgaria to book Olympic berth

 

Triumphant Brazilians in Varna

Varna, Bulgaria, August 11, 2019 – Reigning Olympic champions Brazil survived a Bulgarian match point in set three to mount a spectacular 3-2 (23-25, 19-25, 32-30, 25-16, 15-11) comeback on the way to the first place in Pool A of Tokyo Volleyball Qualification and an Olympic berth at the 2020 Games. Yoandy Leal Hidalgo hammered out a 22-point contribution to the Brazilian victory.

In the earlier match of the day in Varna, Ahmed Shafik scored 15 times to lead Egypt to a 3-0 (25-17, 31-29, 25-17) shutout of Puerto Rico.

Pre-match stats:

Egypt – Puerto Rico (August 11, 2019) 
Head-to-Head
• Egypt and Puerto Rico meet for the first time in the last seven world Olympic qualifying campaigns (1996-2020).
• Both nations have recorded one win each in their major world level encounters (Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World League, Nations League, Grand Champions Cup).
• Egypt won 3-2 at the 2006 World Championship, while Puerto Rico won in straight sets at the 2007 World Cup.

Egypt
• Egypt lost both their matches in Varna, 3-1 against hosts Bulgaria on Friday and 3-0 against Brazil on Saturday.
• Egypt appeared in four Olympic Games: 1984, 2000, 2008 and 2016 (excl. 1976 boycott).
• Ahmed Shafik was Egypt's top scorer against both Bulgaria (16 points) and Brazil (9).
• Shafik produced three of Egypt's five serve winners against Brazil.

Puerto Rico
• Puerto Rico lost both matches in three sets in Varna, against Brazil on Friday and against Bulgaria on Saturday.
• Puerto Rico have never participated in volleyball at the Olympic Games.
• Puerto Rico won only one of their last 12 world Olympic qualification matches, a 3-0 victory against Indonesia in 2008.
• Nine different players scored one or more points against Bulgaria on Saturday, but no one scored more than six.

Bulgaria - Brazil (August 11, 2019) 
Head-to-Head
• Bulgaria and Brazil meet for the first time in the last seven world Olympic qualifying campaigns (1996-2020).
• Brazil won 32 of their 47 meetings with Bulgaria in major world level tournaments (Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World League, Nations League, Grand Champions Cup).
• Brazil and Bulgaria both won twice in their last four world level encounters. Bulgaria won 3-1 in the 2017 World League and 3-2 at the 2018 Volleyball Nations League. Brazil defeated Bulgaria in the 2017 World League (3-0) and at the 2019 VNL (3-1).
• Bulgaria won three of their four matches against Brazil at the Olympic Games: 3-0 wins in 1964, 1968 and 1996. Brazil won 3-1 in 1988.

Bulgaria
• Bulgaria beat Egypt 3-1 and Puerto Rico 3-0 in front of a home crowd in Varna.
• Bulgaria could qualify for the Olympic Games for the ninth time, and for the first time since 2012. Bulgaria's best result in the Olympic Games was a second place in 1980, their only Olympic medal in men's volleyball.
• Bulgaria won each of their last eight matches in world Olympic qualification tournaments, three for 1996, three for 2012 and two for 2020. They earned qualification in both 1996 and 2012.
• Rozalin Penchev (15), Martin Atanasov (12) and Tsvetan Sokolov (12) reached double figures in scoring in the match against Puerto Rico.
• Bulgaria outserved Puerto Rico by 12 winners to one on Saturday. Martin Atanasov led all players with four aces.

Brazil
• Brazil have not yet dropped a set in their Tokyo 2020 qualifying campaign: 3-0 wins against Puerto Rico and Egypt.
• Brazil is the only NOC to have appeared in all 14 men's volleyball tournaments held at the Olympic Games (1964-2016).
• They won Olympic gold in 1992, 2004 and 2016 and also collected medals in 1984 (silver), 2008 (silver) and 2012 (silver).
• Brazil share the record for most Olympic gold medals with Soviet Union and United States. Their six total medals are also a joint-record, alongside Soviet Union and Italy.
• Ricardo Lucarelli Souza (15) was Brazil's top scorer against Puerto Rico on Friday, but sat out the match against Egypt. In his place Yoandy Leal Hidalgo claimed top scorer honours on 13 points.

Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB.com - Tokyo Volleyball Qualification
FIVB.com - Volleyball
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