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Argentina celebrating a new victory

Tokyo, Japan, December 3, 2011 - Coming off a tough loss to the USA on Friday, Argentina ended their five-game losing streak in the 2011 FIVB Men’s World Cup on Saturday with a quick win over Egypt at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-17). Leading Argentina in scoring was Federico Pereyra with 15, followed by Facundo Conte with 14 including three blocks. For the Egyptians in a losing effort it was Abdel Latif Ahmed posting nine, and their star southpaw Ahmed Abdelhay held to eight by a solid Argentina defense that outblocked Egypt 10-5.

Argentina started tentatively in the first set with a couple of serves from Luciano De Cecco going astray, but Conte got things going eventually on the defensive side, posting back-to-back blocks on an attacking Abdelhay for scores to go up 12-8. They’d ride that cushion until serves Sebastian Solé got in on the block party, posting a stuff on Moneim. Conte followed that with his third block, again on Abdelhay out wide to make it 20-15. Egypt’s Ahmed Afifi (Youssef) brought a pair of impressive spikes late, but a Pablo Crer attack would clinch the frame for Argentina 25-20

Egypt was more competitive to start the second, with Abdel Latif Ahmed throwing down three scores, the last to equalize at 7-7. But strong attacking by Pereyra and Rodrigo Quiroga helped Argentina ahead 16-12 by the second TTO. But Egypt stuck tight taking seven of the next 11 points to come within one at 20-19, including a wonderful block by Mohamed Badawy (aka Moneim), his second, on an attacking Conte. From there, Quiroga dropped a pair of bombs to jump back ahead, and Pereyra delivered two consecutive aces to close 25-21, two sets to zero.

Egypt took a slight lead in the fourth with a clever dump by their captain Ashraf Abouelhassan to go up 6-5. But that seemed to spark an Argentina landslide as they’d score 10 of the next 11 to make it 15-7, including a hard Crer spike that hit Wael Alaydy square in the chest before he could respond, showing just how quick Argentina can be. Abdelhay got his serve rolling late for Egypt sending a hard ace to make it 19-15, but it was too little too late as Pereyra scored his 15th point to close 25-17, three sets to zero.

After dropping the last five matches of the 2011 FIVB Men’s World Cup, Argentina finally looked like themselves as they played well from start to finish against a determined Egyptian squad.

Press Conference:

Argentina coach Javier Weber: I am very happy today because we played well for the entire match. We lost the last five matches but today we won. But most importantly we played well, inside out, organized on blocking and defense, touching many balls on defense. This is our game. We’ll focus now on tomorrow because in a very long tournament like this, playing well in the last match is important.

Argentina captain Rodrigo Quiroga: First I’m happy because we won today, but we are also so tired because this is such a long tournament. Our objective was to finish our last two games playing well and to try to win. Today was a strong match; Egypt is a good team. But today we found our game again, the way we can play. It was good for us to win. Now we have to try to think about the next match against China.

Egypt coach Sherif El-Shemerly: First I’d like to say congratulations to coach Weber. The Argentinian team played well. They reduced their mistakes, while we continued to make mistakes. I hope tomorrow and when we go back to Cairo we can try to solve our problems. We especially have to serve better, and we have to work more on blocking and defense. Today during the match we had some good moments, but our problem was at the start of every set. We received poorly, inside out, and continued running after the Argentinians. I hope tomorrow can be better than today so our team can leave a good impression.

Egypt captain Ashraf Abouelhassan: Congratulations to Argentina. We were not very organized today. We played today some parts of the match well, but some of our players feel drained from a long tough tournament. This was a tough match, and maybe that’s why some players were tired. We’ll try to do our best tomorrow versus Cuba but we have to play better to say goodbye to everyone here.

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