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Serbia outlasts Germany to keep alive volleyball quarterfinal hope
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16:49, August 16, 2008

World League runner-up Serbia, who suffered three losses in men's volleyball preliminaries, finally beat Germany 3-1 to keep their hope of making quarterfinals alive on Saturday.

Serbia's two key players Nikola Kovacevic and Bojan Janic both missed the match due to the injuries in the last match against Poland.

With the hard-earned victory, Serbia trails Germany to rank the fifth in Pool B. As top four of the six-team group will survive, the two European teams, both holding 1-4 win-loss record, still have chances to go further.

However, Serbia may have a better chance as they will play the group's weakest Egypt in the last match, while Germany will face mighty Russia.

"We want a victory. Of course, it will not be the same as playing Germany, but we definitely shouldn't underestimate Egypt or any other opponent at this kind of tournament," said Igor Kolakovic, Serbian head coach.

Germany did not surrender easily in Saturday's decider and the scores are as close as 25-21, 27-25, 24-26, 25-23.

"The first set was crucial. We tried to play catch-up and we were able to get some tie-breaks but we still lost due to the fact that the opponents did very well in blocking," said German head coach Stelian Moculescu.

In the two matches earlier in the day, the United States celebrated the return of their head coach Hugh McCutcheon, who missed their three matches following the death of his father-in-law in Beijing, after defeating host China 3-0.

Heading Pool A with the fourth triumph, the United States, the World League champion this year, strode into the final eight even with one match remaining, but China's outlook of making the quarterfinals turned vague with a 2-2 win-loss record.

While another favorite Russia continued their winning momentum to pick up its fourth victory after breezing past Egypt 3-0. The Europeans, now ranked top in Pool B, showed great potential for gold medal after a surprising 3-1 win over defending champion Brazil.

Twelve teams are competing in two groups in the preliminary round with top four finishers from each group to qualify for the quarter-finals.

China is grouped with Italy, World Cup bronze medalist Bulgaria, the United States, Japan and Venezuela. Defending champion Brazil, Russia, Serbia, Egypt, Poland and German are in Group B. The knockout stages run from Aug. 20 to 24.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 27 11 6 44
2 USA 15 14 19 48
3 Germany 8 3 5 16
4 South Korea 6 9 3 18
5 Italy 6 5 4 15
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