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Argentina reached its third victory showing great level v Cuba

Osaka, Japan, November 24, 2011 - Argentina rallied for a four-set (17-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-17) triumph over Cuba on the first day of second-round action in the 2011 FIVB Men's World Cup at Osaka Central Gym on Thursday. Facundo Conte scored a match-high 19 points, while Sebastian Sole had 15 points for the winners. Conte was named the most impressive player of the match.

The victory raised Argentina's record to 3-1, while Cuba slipped to 2-2. Cuba came out strong in the opening set, but then lost momentum as Argentina showed off some excellent passing and attacks in a real team effort.

Background sometimes does not count; Cuba has dominated the 21-match series with Argentina, having won 19 of the contests. The two teams last met during the 2010 FIVB World League in which Cuba won all four matches to extend their win streak to five matches in the series. Argentina last pulled in a win over Cuba during the 1999 FIVB World League, but did not play again for 10 years until the 2009 FIVB World League Final Round.

Cuba jumped to an 8-4 lead at the first TTO in the opening set. A cross-court spike by Leon made it 10-5 for Cuba. With Cuba ahead 11-5, Argentina took a timeout. A block at the net by Leon made it 14-6 for Cuba. Sole then executed a fine block of his own on the next point. The Cubans led 16-10 at the second TTO. Leon and Yassel Perdomo paced Cuba as they went up 23-16. A Henry Bell spike gave Cuba set point and they closed it out 25-17 on a return mistake by Federico Pereyra. Leon had six points in the set, while Perdomo added four as.

Cuba was on top 8-7 at the first TTO in the second set as they continued to capitalize on several unforced errors by Argentina. A block by Rodrigo Quiroga equalized at 10-10 for Argentina, which then ran off three more points to go up 13-11. Hernandez soared for a spike to make it 14-12. Conte's block gave Argentina a 16-12 lead at the second TTO. A quick swipe by De Cecco made it 20-15 as Argentina move toward taking the set. Hernandez sent a serve long to make it set point at 24-16 and Argentina wrapped up the set on the next point.

The third set was tight early on. A spike drilled by Hernandez went off the chest of De Cecco and out to make it 7-5 for Cuba. Cuba was on top 8-6 at the first TTO. A dink by Conte pulled Argentina within 9-8. Leon fired a spike long and the score was knotted 12-12. Cuba called a time out with Argentina ahead 14-13. Pereyra's spike made it 15-15, but a receiving mistake by the South Americans saw Cuba 16-15 up at the second TTO. An unforced error by Cuba saw Argentina move ahead 20-18. A Bell spike made it 22-19, but a service ace by De Cecco moved Argentina within two points of the set. A block by Sole gave Argentina the set at 25-21.

Argentina won a great rally to go up 4-1 in the fourth set as Conte dug out a vicious spike from Hernandez and his teammates made a successful block. Cuba took an early timeout while trailing 6-2. Argentina had a five-point lead 8-3 at the first TTO. A Sole spike continued a fine stretch for Argentina and made it 14-7. Hernandez responded with a big spike and Sole answered back again. Quiroga's spike sent Argentina into the second TTO up 16-9 and made the outcome appear academic. Pereyra smashed a spike off libero Keibel Gutierrez for 18-11. Cuba called a timeout while behind 21-12, but the result was nearly certain by then. Argentina clinched the 25-17 match on a flying spike by Conte.

Press Conference:

Argentina coach Javier Weber: "We made a lot of service mistakes in the first set. We fixed the problem quickly and were able to win the match. We are very happy to beat such a strong team like Cuba".

Cuba coach Orlando Samuels: "We started good. We got worse from the second set. We have a lot of young players who are not technically sound and they lost concentration. Argentina is an experienced team with a lot of veteran players".

Argentina captain - Rodrigo Quiroga: "I'm so happy because this is the first time we beat Cuba. We made too many mistakes in attack early, but then we improved our service and pressured them and our attack became good. We trust in our teammates, this is why we play quick with speed. This is a good day for us as we beat a good team".

Cuba captain Wilfredo Leon: "Today we started very good in the first set. We made mistakes in the second set and it continued. We could not perform as we practiced in today's game".

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