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De Cecco, the best setter of he FIVB World Cup

Tokyo, Japan, December 4, 2011 - Argentina went into the final day of the 2011 FIVB World Cup looking to end on a high note against China at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday. They would solidify a seventh-place finish in the tournament with a win over China 3-0 (25-23, 31-29, 25-18). The win didn’t come easy, but Argentina was led with a brilliant scoring exhibition by Facundo Conte with 24 points, and right behind him was Federico Pereyra with 22. For China the leading scorer was Yuan Zhi with 14 points.

China started off well with a Liang Chunlong block on Conte to kick things off, followed shortly after by a Yuan ace to help China go up 7-3. They managed to hold that lead despite strong attacking from Conte and Rodrigo Quiroga, maintaining a four-point edge at 16-12 as Pereyra sailed a spike out. Argentina would bounce back to tie 18-18 on a hard Conte drive, and from there the teams exchanged shots until arriving at 23-23. That was when Pablo Crer stepped up to stop an attacking Zhang Chen, and they’d take it from there 25-23 on a China attack error.

The second set was just as close to start, with Liang posting a stubborn block on the hard-hitting Pereyra, helping his side go up 8-7. But Pereyra would rebound with four quick scores, keeping the set tight at 16-16, and he brought another to go up two, the first two-point lead of the period. But the Chinese would equalize at 23 with a Li Runming ace. From there it was Conte versus China all on his own with six straight attacks for his side giving Argentina six set points, China fighting off each one. It wasn’t until Crer stepped up with a block that Argentina managed to take it, 31-29.

Conte stayed hot in the third set, posting a hard block on China’s Yuan to go ahead 7-4, but China would stay within range, going up one on an alert tip by Yuan to the back when Argentina defenders strayed forward. A Pereyra ace knotted it at 13-13, and from there Argentina would cruise to take control with a high-flying block from setter Luciano De Cecco (who was the most impressive player in the match) and a well-timed Crer ace down the stretch, winning 25-18.

China put up a good effort against Argentina on the final day of the 2011 FIVB Men’s World Cup, but struggled near the end of sets allowing the South Americans to take the 3-0 victory.

Press Conference:

China coach Zhou Jianan : First as for today, Argentina played excellent. We were also able to play at a high level. I’m happy and satisfied with the result. As for the World Cup, for the first half of the tournament I was like in a dream and we had a lot of pressure from other teams, but in last half we played like ourselves I think and that’s a goal we could achieve. I think we got extensive experience in this tournament which means a lot to us.

On preliminary match next year versus rival Japan : In preliminaries our rival is not only Japan but also Iran, Australia and Korea. Only one can qualify so we hope we can compete well against all these countries.

China captain Zhong Weijun : First I’d like to congratulate the Argentina team on their win. They played a great game. We tried hard to win, but in the end just couldn’t make it. In first two sets we had opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize. We are a young team competing in this World Cup and we go back to China tomorrow taking these experiences back with us, so we can improve in the future.

Argentina coach Javier Weber : Thank you coach [Zhou] for your comments. I’m happy for today and satisfied with this tournament. It has been good for us. We started well, and after four poor matches, these last three matches were good. For a young team, having 11 matches in 15 days is not easy. These last three matches we played like we did in the first five, and this is important. For today I agree with coach [Zhou] that both teams played well, at a high level during the whole match. Argentina played well at the end of the sets, especially in the first and the second sets, and this was the difference today.

Argentina captain Rodrigo Quiroga : First my compliments to the Chinese team, it was a hard match today. They are young, but very good. They play quick and are good on defense. I think today the first two sets saw us fall behind in both, but after the last point we could win each one. I’m very happy for that and for the victory today. For the tournament this is the strongest competition in the world, with too many matches in just 15 days. I hope to play again in the 2015 World Cup, but I’m happy to get the seventh place spot we have now. We have to think about continental Olympic qualification.

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