Cuba dominates Puerto Rico

Cuba's opening match of the tournament was a straight set victory over Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-19) on Friday night at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, Canada.


Marlon Yant and Miguel Lopez finished with 13 and 10 points for Cuba. Pelegrín Vargas had 10 for Puerto Rico.


"Today’s game was pretty good. We played our game,” said Cuba’s coach Nicolas Vives. “I think we can play better than we played today. Tomorrow we go against Canada which has a great team. We’re going to be playing point by point and we’re going to fight until the end.


Puerto Rican Maurice Torres regretted the many mistakes committed by his team and blamed them for the loss.


"We just made way too many errors” Torres said. “You can compete as much as you can until you start making errors like we did. That’s what changed the entire match.”


Livan Rodriguez Osoria, captain of Cuba: "We’re going to be ready for tomorrow which will define the qualification for Tokyo. We are ready for tomorrow’s game. We can’t wait to play against Canada. They’re a great team and we’ll be ready for them."

  • Published in Sports


The five vacancies in the men’s volleyball tournament of the 2020 Olympic Games that are still available are about to be contested at various venues on all five continents over the next few days and the line-up for Tokyo 2020 should be finalized by January 12.
The winners of the five continental qualification tournaments will claim the last five tickets (one per continental confederation) to Tokyo and will join hosts Japan, as well as the teams of Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Poland, Russia and USA who advanced through the intercontinental qualifiers in August, in the quest for the most coveted medals in the sports world.
CEV qualification tournament
European squads will be the first to get into action, as their eight-team qualifier gets underway on Sunday, January 5, at the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin. The participants are split into two round-robin pools to be played over four consecutive days on the way to the January 9 semifinals, matching the pool winners against the pool runners-up, and the big final on January 10 to decide the quota.
Hosts Germany have played at the Olympics twice as East Germany, once as Germany and another two times after the reunification, most recently finishing fifth at London 2012. Their best result is the Munich 1972 silver for GDR. Germany’s toughest opposition in Pool A is likely to be presented by Slovenia, a team that never made it to the Olympics, but claimed silver medals at two of the three most recent European Championships, in 2015 and 2019. Also in that pool are Belgium, looking for their second Olympic appearance, after the eighth place way back in 1968, and the Czech Republic, who have never been to the Olympics as such, but showcase one silver (1964) and one bronze (1968) medals out of their five appearances in the first five Olympic tournaments through 1980 as Czechoslovakia.
Reigning 2019 European champions Serbia, gold medallists at Sydney 2000 and bronze medallists at Atlanta 1996 as Serbia and Montenegro, are aiming at their seventh Olympic participation overall. They and the team of France, who played at four editions of the Games and finished ninth in 2016, seem to be the big favourites to make the semis from Pool B, but they will have to face the strong challenge of Bulgaria, silver medallists at Moscow 1980 and looking for their ninth trip to the Olympics, and the Netherlands, Atlanta 1996 champions and Barcelona 1992 runners-up, attempting to register their seventh appearance at the Games.
AVC qualification tournament
Asian teams will be the next to join the race to Tokyo 2020, as the AVC qualification tournament kicks off in Jiangmen on January 7 in the same format as the one of CEV – eight teams, divided into two round-robin pools leading up to crossed semifinals and a final – to stamp one Olympic visa on January 12.
In Pool A, hosts China, most recently finishing fifth at home at Beijing 2008, are targeting their third Olympic appearance, in the company of reigning 2019 Asian champions Iran, who finished fifth at Rio 2016, their only Olympic participation so far, as well as Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei, who have never made it to the Games as such.
2019 Asian Championship runners-up Australia, who ranked eighth at home at Sydney 2000 and played at two more editions of the Games afterwards, lead the way in Pool B, with eight-time Olympic participants Korea as their main contender. India and Qatar will also start the Jiangmen tournament in Pool B, hoping to book Olympic tickets for the first time in history. 
CAVB qualification tournament
A single round-robin tournament with five participating teams will produce the single African representative at Tokyo 2020. Egyptian capital Cairo will host the CAVB qualification battles over five consecutive days, from January 7 through 11.
Tournament hosts Egypt represented their continent at the most recent edition of the Games, in Rio, where they placed ninth. It was their best result out of four Olympic appearances. Tunisia, the African nation with most Olympic experience and reigning 2019 continental champion, have a good shot at booking their seventh trip to the Games. The ninth place at Los Angeles 1984 is their best standing so far. In 1992, Algeria crossed the Mediterranean to finish 12th at the Barcelona Olympics. Now they are aiming at their second Olympic appearance. The squads of Ghana and African championship runners-up Cameroon will also take their chances at claiming their first ever Olympic visa.
CSV qualification tournament
With both South American standouts, Brazil and Argentina, having already booked their Tokyo 2020 tickets, this year’s edition of the Olympic Games will mark the first time in history when the continent will be represented by three men’s teams. In a single round-robin qualifier from January 10 through 12 in Santiago, Chile, four teams will compete for the rare honour to accompany the two South American powerhouses to the Olympics.
Venezuela are, in fact, the only other team from the continent that have ever appeared at the Games. They did so in 2008 when they finished ninth in Beijing and will try to do it again in 2020 in Tokyo. None of their three opponents in Santiago – Colombia, Peru and hosts Chile – have ever qualified for the Olympics, so the fans may expect fierce battles at Arena Monticello. 
NORCECA qualification tournament
The North American qualifier is the last of the five to get underway, also as a single round-robin tournament with four teams from January 10 through 12. Vancouver, Canada will host the event with the iconic Pacific Coliseum as the arena of the matches.
Hosts Canada will aim to secure their fifth Olympic appearance. At Rio 2016, the Maple Leafs ranked fifth, while their best result came at Los Angeles 1984, when they finished fourth. Montreal 1976 bronze medallists Cuba, who are after their eighth trip to the Olympics and hoping to do better than the 11th place in the Rio 2016 final standings, are another serious contender for a spot at Tokyo 2020. Mexico, who shared that 11th position with Cuba at their second participation in the Games, and Puerto Rico, who are targeting their first appearance at the Olympics, are the other two squads in the line-up for the NORCECA vacancy.
  • Published in Sports

Turin to host 2020 Volleyball Nations League men's finals

Turin will host the 2020 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) men's finals, it has been announced.

It means top-class action will return to the Pala Alpitour venue in the Italian city, which hosted the final of the Men's World Championship last year.

The 2006 Winter Olympics city will become the third host of the event after Chicago this year and Lille in 2018.

Six countries contest the final after qualifying from round-robin play across the world, with Italy given a host nation berth. 

"I am pleased to announce that the next round of VNL men's final will take place in Turin, Italy," said International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) President Ary S. Graça.

"Italy is a country with a strong tradition in volleyball, and I am happy to see that this tradition is thriving.

"After witnessing the supporters' passion at last year's Volleyball Men's World Championship, and naturally the wonderful finals of the World Beach Volleyball Tour in Rome earlier this year, it is clear that a growing number of volleyball fans in Italy are eager to attend live competitions."

Poland beat Brazil in last year's Men's World Championship final at Pala Alpitour ©Getty Images
Poland beat Brazil in last year's Men's World Championship final at Pala Alpitour ©Getty Images

Russia have won both editions of the Nations League played to date.

In Turin, the organising partner of the tournament has been confirmed as RCS Sports and Events.

"The Italian Volleyball Federation is pleased to know that the VNL 2020 men's finals will be played in Turin, as the FIVB informed us today," said Pietro Bruno Cattaneo, the Italian Volleyball Federation President.

"I am sure that the Piedmont capital and Pala Alpitour will be worthy of this event. 

"Indeed, we all carry in our minds the extraordinary success with all the fans at the Volleyball Men's World Championship in 2018."

Chinese city Nanjing is due to host the 2020 women's VNL finals for the third-straight year.

Dates for both events still have to be finalised. 

  • Published in Sports

Brazil crowned at FIVB men's World Cup with 11 straight wins

Olympic and three-time world champions Brazil beat Italy 25-20, 25-22, 25-15 in Hiroshima, Japan on Tuesday to wrap up the FIVB men's volleyball World Cup with 11 consecutive wins and bring home the trophy on 32 points.

Poland came out the runners-up on 28 points from nine victories and two losses, edging the United States to the third place on advantage of winning sets.

The United States, who settled for a bronze with a 9-2 win-loss mark but 29-12 sets record, finished their last game in Japan with a 3-1 win over Egypt. Matthew Anderson scored a match-high 17 points.

Hosts Japan concluded the 12-nation tournament on fourth with eight wins and three losses by defeating Canada 3-2 in the final game of the final day.

  • Published in Sports


The 2019 edition of the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup featured 12 national teams from the five continental confederations playing in Nagano, Fukuoka and Hiroshima from October 1 to 15. The competition began in Fukuoka and Nagano before teams moved to Hiroshima for the last six match days. Brazil claimed gold, Poland silver and USA bronze.

FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup: Standings, schedule and results. All times local. (GMT+9)

Matches on Tuesday, October 1 in Nagano and Fukuoka
Australia v Egypt 1-3 (22-25, 25-21, 23-25, 18-25)
USA v Argentina 2-3 (21-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21, 12-15)
Russia v Iran 3-1 (25-21, 25-18, 24-26, 25-22)
Poland v Tunisia 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-12)
Brazil v Canada 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-14)
Japan v Italy 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-21)

Matches on Wednesday, October 2 in Nagano and Fukuoka
Egypt v Iran 3-1 (22-25, 26-24, 25-18, 26-24)
Tunisia v Argentina 1-3 (19-25, 18-25, 25-23, 14-25)
Canada v Russia 2-3 (25-23, 25-16, 17-25, 23-25, 10-15)
Italy v USA 1-3 (25-19, 19-25, 14-25, 19-25)
Australia v Brazil 0-3 (15-25, 20-25, 17-25)
Poland v Japan 3-1 (25-23, 25-17, 19-25, 25-17)

Matches on Friday, October 4 in Nagano and Fukuoka

Iran v Canada 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-19)
Argentina v Italy 2-3 (28-26, 25-17, 12-25, 18-25, 10-15)
Russia v Australia 2-3 (16-25, 25-22, 28-26, 21-25, 12-15)
USA v Poland 3-1 (25-19, 25-20, 24-26, 27-25)
Brazil v Egypt 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-19, 25-22)
Japan v Tunisia 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-11)

Matches on Saturday, October 5 in Nagano and Fukuoka
Egypt v Canada 2-3 (25-27, 25-27, 25-16, 25-22, 9-15)
Poland v Argentina 3-1 (27-29, 25-17, 25-18, 26-24)
Brazil v Russia 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-22)
Tunisia v Italy 0-3 (19-25, 21-25, 18-25)
Australia v Iran 1-3 (22-25, 25-18, 18-25, 25-27)
Japan v USA 0-3 (19-25, 19-25, 21-25)

Matches on Sunday, October 6 in Nagano and Fukuoka

Russia v Egypt 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-19, 25-21)
Italy v Poland 0-3 (18-25, 18-25, 22-25)
Iran v Brazil 1-3 (27-25, 21-25, 25-27, 22-25)
USA v Tunisia 3-0 (25-10, 25-18, 25-17)
Canada v Australia 3-1 (18-25, 28-26, 25-20, 25-22)
Argentina v Japan 1-3 (19-25, 20-25, 28-26, 22-25)

Matches on Wednesday, October 9 in Hiroshima
Tunisia v Canada 2-3 (20-25, 25-20, 27-29, 25-20, 12-15)
Italy v Egypt 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-22)
Argentina v Brazil 0-3 (19-25, 19-25, 24-26)
Poland v Russia 3-1 (25-27, 25-21, 25-18, 25-22)
USA v Iran 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-18, 25-12)
Japan v Australia 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-22)

Matches on Thursday, October 10 in Hiroshima
Argentina v Canada 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-20)
Poland v Egypt 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-16)
Tunisia v Iran 0-3 (24-26, 17-25, 22-25)
Italy v Australia 3-0 (30-28, 25-13, 25-22)
USA v Brazil 0-3 (23-25, 22-25, 17-25)
Japan v Russia 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 25-16)

Matches on Friday, October 11 in Hiroshima

Argentina v Iran 2-3 (25-27, 25-23, 25-19, 17-25, 10-15)
Poland v Australia 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-9)
Tunisia v Brazil 0-3 (17-25, 14-25, 13-25)
Italy v Russia 1-3 (25-13, 25-27, 26-28, 12-25)
USA v Canada 3-2 (21-25, 25-11, 20-25, 25-19, 15-13)
Japan v Egypt 3-2 (25-14, 18-25, 25-23, 28-30, 15-13)

Matches on Sunday, October 13 in Hiroshima
Argentina v Russia 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 25-16)
Italy v Canada 2-3 (25-19, 17-25, 25-15, 23-25, 16-18)
USA v Australia 3-0 (25-14, 25-13, 25-16)
Poland v Brazil 2-3 (25-19, 23-25, 19-25, 25-16, 11-15)
Tunisia v Egypt 3-1 (25-23, 14-25, 25-17, 25-18)
Japan v Iran 3-1 (25-16, 26-28, 25-13, 25-21)

Matches on Monday, October 14 in Hiroshima
USA v Russia 3-0 (25-23, 25-11, 25-16)
Poland v Canada 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-20)
Argentina v Egypt 3-1 (25-27, 25-17, 25-22, 25-17)
Italy v Iran 3-2 (25-27, 27-29, 30-28, 25-17, 15-13)
Tunisia v Australia 0-3 (21-25, 17-25, 21-25)
Japan v Brazil 1-3 (17-25, 26-24, 14-25, 25-27)

Matches on Tueday, October 15 in Hiroshima
USA v Egypt 3-1 (22-25, 25-16, 25-14, 25-13)
Poland v Iran 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-16)
Tunisia v Russia 0-3 (16-25, 16-25, 15-25)
Italy v Brazil 0-3 (20-25,22-25, 15-25)
Argentina v Australia 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 26-24)
Japan v Canada 3-2 (22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 15-9)

The men's competition at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball World Cup follows the women's tournament, which was played across five cities in Japan from September 14 to 29. Click here for more information.
  • Published in Sports

Cuba is golden at the Men’s NORCECA Championship

Cuba won the gold-medal match 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 25-20) at the 2019 Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.

Cuba led in attack points (46-34), and dominated from the service line (10-5), but the U.S. held its own in blocking with 11 points compared with Cuba’s seven.

Cuba’s was a team effort with Osniel Mergarejo and Miguel Angel Lopez leading scoring with 15 each, followed by Robertlandy Simon (including four aces) with 14 and Marlon Yant with 12.

TJ Defalco and Kyle Ensing had 12 points apiece for the United States.

Cuba had already locked up a spot in the NORCECA Olympic Qualifier next January as the winner of the recent Champions Cup, held in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The U.S. is already qualified for the 2020 Olympics as winner of its pool in the FIVB Qualification Tournament last month.

Cuba, head coach, Yosvany Muñoz Perez: “I’m very happy.  We came here to fight for first place, and that happened. We had very strong serves, the reception was very, very good and our attacking was a good performance.

Our players now will play professionally all over the world and we’ll get back together in December to prepare for the Olympic Qualification tournament. “

USA, head coach, John Hawks: “They served really well, as we expected, and I think offensively they were just a little sharper than they were the other night (when USA won in the pool match).  We didn’t pass as well as we did, we lost the serve/pass game….  Our guys are trying to prove ourselves to our senior teams, to be on the roster….

Leaving here with the silver medal is great, but we want gold.  We’re proud of the effort, but in the end we just weren’t sharp enough, so credit to Cuba, they played great.”

  • Published in Sports

Canada falters against a determined Cuban team

Canada started strong, but lost momentum after the first set to fall to Cuba 1-3 (25-17, 22-25, 22-25,19-25) in the first semifinal of the Men’s 2019 NORCECA Continental Championship today in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  

Canada led in blocking (12-10), but Cuba led in service points (9-7) and attacks (50-43).

Miguel Lopez let all scorers with 21 points for the winning team. He was followed by teammates Marlon Yant (15) and Osniel Mergarejo (13).

For Canada, Stephen Maar contributed 17 points. Nick Hoag and Sharone Vernon-Evans had 11 apiece.

Cuba will face the winner of USA vs Mexico in the gold medal match on Saturday. Canada will face the loser in the bronze game.

Cuba head coach Yosvany Muñoz Perez:

“I am happy because of this victory. Our team had a very high level performance today, especially in our serving, we had very strong service today. Congratulations to Canada, they are a good team.  Now we want to see who wins between Mexico and the USA and then we will study the video.  We want to be prepared for tomorrow.”

#13 Cuban middle blocker, Robertlandy Simon:

“When we win, we are happy. We are here and trying to win, but the most important thing is to get to the Olympics.  January is what will really count.

Today, our service was very good, and they had some difficulty with reception. We played well after the first set.”

Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag:

“We played a great first set, in all aspects, especially in our serving. In the second set, we completely lost momentum because we committed too many service errors early in the second set, and Cuba started playing better. … We haven’t played Cuba in a long time, so it was good to see what they can do.  We have to be ready for January. …It’s just a question of working on a few things, especially our serving flaws versus our block defense, and I think we will be ready. But for now, we will worry about tomorrow.”

  • Published in Sports

Cuba gets second victory at NORCECA Championship

Cuba defeated Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-15) and is now 2-0 at the 2019 Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.

Osniel Lazaro Melgarejo was again Cuba’s top scorer at 17 points, including four aces.

Dominican captain Henry Omar Tapia also had 17 points, but for the losing side.

Cuba is aiming for first place in its pool to avoid quarterfinals and advance directly to the semifinals on Friday.

Cuba has already locked up a spot in the NORCECA Olympic Qualifier next January, but still has the goal to win this tournament.

Cuba head coach Yosvany Muñoz Perez: “Today I am very happy. The team played better than yesterday (vs Guatemala). At the beginning of the game we started off a bit cold, but after that we increased our performance. We are ready for the United States. We will prepare and discuss our plan to be ready for the match.”

Dominican Republic, head coach, Jose Alexander Gutierrez: “It was a difficult match for us because Cuba’s level is higher than us. But it is okay, much better than yesterday. For us it’s very good to improve after each game. This tournament is very complicated and is not easy. There are different levels here, USA, Canada and Cuba are much higher in skill and experience than Puerto Rico, Mexico, Guatemala.”

  • Published in Sports
Subscribe to this RSS feed