Strong spikes in Brazil

Strong spikes in Brazil
Fecha de publicación: 
30 May 2024
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The start of the men’s VNL 2024 was nearly perfect for Cuba. Here, the team targets one of the remaining tickets for Paris 2024.

Just one five-sets lost to Japan and wins over Germany, Brazil, and Iran was the summary of week 1 for Cubans in Brasilia.

That first win against the local team was that magnificent boost that our team needed. In recent times, very competitive matches were played against the green-yellow team from South America, but we lost all of them in the end.

We were now able to maintain the game level, and we could manage to reverse a tough situation in set four against Germany. The lost versus Japan was not dramatic after all and it was, again, another match they could have perfectly win.

With a serious advantage 14-12 in the tie-break, the game slipped away from our hands and key plays were mishandled at the end. Hence, the Japanese took a huge win out of our own mistakes.

We did not even lose a point in the world ranking after such an epic battle, but winning away that fifth set could have represented a gift of ten points in the world ranking.

In any case, the final gain was highly successful. Let’s remember that before the start of the VNL, Serbia was ahead of our team in the ranking 253.22 against 236.96.

Serbia had a horrible start. They lost to Japan, Brazil, and Germany and this led Cuba to momentarily grab the spot to the Olympics: 261.17 versus 238.51.

This week, in Brazil, our team again made lots of errors, but most of them were serving errors. And I do believe that we can compete this way in the elite as this is a powerful weapon to use. If you serve with no aggressiveness, attacks against you will be generally unstoppable.

The development we all saw from our setters were encouraging. Both Christian Thondike and Livan Taboada showed a varied arsenal and effectiveness. It was actually a concerning aspect in our general game plan. In my humble opinion, that progress has been fundamental to return to the volleyball elite.

Coach Jesús Cruz made key moves such as that of Osniel Mergarejo against the Germans to level that set, and he effectively alternated the setters depending on the specific situations of each match.

With the greatest of optimism, we now face this break that the men's League will take to make way for the continuation of the women's League, and it is very good for us to see if we can recover Jesús Herrera or Miguel David Gutiérrez, two of our injured stars.

In the following week our team will travel to Ottawa to clash with Canada, the Netherlands, Italy and France, before taking on the finale in Slovenia, where they will face Serbia, Bulgaria, Poland and the hosts.

All of them are though rivals, but they have already proven that the difference in quality is small, and you only need to do things well on the court to get positive results. Let's hope that dynamic continues.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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