The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Spikers falter at final hurdle

Chennai: India’s incredible giant-killing run at the world under-19 volleyball championship ended on Sunday, as they lost to defending champions Brazil 0-3 in the final at Suphanburi in Thailand.

According to information received here, Brazil beat India 25-22, 26-24, 25-19 in the 71-minute encounter. They have now won the title for the sixth time.

Indian coach G.E. Sridharan said from Thailand that he was happy with the team’s performance in the championship. “We were the underdogs, but the boys proved otherwise with their performance. We lost to a better team, ranked much higher than India.” Sridharan added that better offensive and defensive tactics helped Brazil.

Brazilian coach Percy Oncken praised India for their show and said: “Indian players surprised all. After we lost in the league phase, we wanted to return the compliment.” Brazil are the reigning world senior and junior champions.

In the playoff for third and fourth places, Russia defeated Thailand 25-27, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21.

India matched Brazil in every department. But it was not enough to upset their rivals, for whom it was sweet revenge after the 21-25, 21-25, 25-22, 20-25 loss in the league phase.

India failed to raise their game at vital moments and looked jaded after playing tough matches against Puerto Rico and Iran in the quarterfinals and semi-finals, respectively.

However, India did not yield any advantage to the Brazilians and matched them point for point. The scoreline in the first two sets was indicative of the stiff fight offered by India.

Brazil could not take more than a two point lead throughout the first two sets. India also paid dearly for not holding onto their service games — a weakness that had surfaced in their earlier matches. In the third set, the Brazilians co-ordinated better and their court coverage was excellent. The teams were level on 8-8, 11-11 and 17-17. Brazil then raised their level of play and reeled off four points in a row.

Alvesthiag Soares and Carvalho Danilo combined well to block Sanjay and Srikanth for points. Once they went in to a 21-18 lead, the match was almost as good as over.

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