Europe struggles to seed the forest for the trees

Dead spruce trees are suffering from drought; while beeches, above left, are thriving in a forest near Iserlohn, Germany | Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

The World in 2050

Europe struggles to seed the forest for the trees

With warm weather stressing native species, new types of trees may be needed to absorb carbon dioxide.


This article is part of the special report The World in 2050.

Europe can’t stop climate change without forests. But climate change is killing trees.

Forests cover almost half of Europe’s land area, and that proportion is set to grow over the next three decades. Policymakers are planning to plant billions of trees in an effort to absorb emissions and slash the European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

But even with tree cover set to expand across the bloc, it’s becoming less clear what Europe’s wooded areas will actually look like when the middle of the century arrives.

“Forests are biting the dust before our eyes,” said Philipp zu Guttenberg, who ran the German Forest Owners Association between 2010 and 2019.

As the world warms, trees are being ravaged by drought, fires, bark beetles and other species gnawing away at their bark and trunks. Not all tree species might pass the test of time and temperatures, experts warn.

That means the trees making up mid-century forests might be very different from those of today — and they might not be nearly as good at pulling CO2 from the atmosphere. Even worse, climate change might turn trees into a source of emissions.

Such a change poses a huge problem for the European Commission’s 2050 plans. It notes that trees already absorb about 10 percent of the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions every year, “which means they are also crucial in adapting to climate change.” They’re also meant to maintain and enhance biodiversity, to replace cement and other carbon-intensive materials in construction and other areas, and to fuel much of the EU’s renewable energy use over the next decades.

Last October the Commission warned that Europe’s woodlands were removing less carbon every year because climate change makes wildfires more frequent, and because of higher harvesting rates aimed at satisfying increased demand for wood.

“It’s far too dry and far too warm. Our forests aren’t conditioned for that. There are more pests — mushrooms, bark beetles, butterflies — than we’ve ever seen before,” Guttenberg said. “They’re finding ideal living conditions … Everything’s come together at once: there are invasive species we never had, they find weakened trees with barely any resin and reduced immune systems.”

Frying forests

Satellite data shows 2019 was the warmest on record in Europe. There were summer droughts across much of Central Europe. Soil moisture was the second-lowest for 40 years.

Two drought years have triggered a “dramatic dying of trees,” said Martin Häusling, the Greens’ spokesperson on agricultural matters in the European Parliament, who used to run a small organic farm before becoming a politician.

He warned that it’s not just the artificially planted forests consisting of endless ranks of spruce and pine trees that are withering, but also beech trees which typically mark the Central European landscape.

The bad news about forests is at odds with the optimistic sounds coming out of the European Commission. EU Green Deal chief Frans Timmermans has put forward a headline-grabbing scheme to plant 3 billion trees, but experts and campaigners say the plan is largely a distraction which doesn’t address forest degradation.

“I understand politicians, they want headlines and simple solutions. Planting trees — it’s very easy to say,” said Marc Palahí, director of the European Forest Institute.

“Many people forget that planting the tree is not the end of the issue. Planting the tree is the beginning of a long-term project to nurture a tree, which can last 100 years,” said Palahí. “Many politicians think you plant and clap and there’s the tree.”

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Instead, political energy should turn to adapting forests to warmer temperatures and more frequent droughts.

“Politicians would like to have a big tree-planting program for Europe. What we need is an adaptation plan for European forests,” Palahí said.

That’s echoed by foresters.

“It’s about maintaining our forests,”  said Guttenberg, who’s also a leading lobbyist for the Confederation of European Forest Owners. “It’s about keeping them alive.”

Calculating how climate change will affect forests in the coming decades is also a problem for government advisers trying to model what it will take to slash emissions to net zero.

“One of the challenges in our modeling is to factor in climate change itself,” Chris Stark, the chief executive of the U.K.’s Committee on Climate Change, told POLITICO. That matters for trees and peatlands.

“Planting trees is not a panacea,” he added. “You need the right climate to grow these trees. So, a big question is, can you put the trees in the right place so they grow successfully, and can you do that in a way that isn’t damaging to nature?”

Tree planting

Inside the EU’s political institutions, officials are aware that forests are already under huge pressure and that there are no easy solutions.

“We’re losing forest cover every summer [from fires] to begin with, let alone speaking about pests, diseases, etc.,” Mauro Petriccione, the head of the climate change department, said in February.

The challenge facing policymakers is to find the right balance to satisfy environmental, climate and commercial interests.

In its recently announced Biodiversity Strategy, the European Commission acknowledges that in “addition to strictly protecting all remaining EU primary and old-growth forests, the EU must increase the quantity, quality and resilience of its forests, notably against fires, droughts, pests, diseases and other threats likely to increase with climate change.”

Another question forest experts are grappling with is what type of tree will weather the future’s changing climate.

“In parts of Germany, spruce is saying goodbye,” Guttenberg said. “Beech and ash, they’re all kicking the bucket. But we don’t even know what home-grown species we should plant instead.” The German government earmarked €700 million for forests in its pandemic recovery package earlier this month.

“We know that climate change is changing faster than the capacity of natural species to move to the right regions,” Palahí said. “What is clear the forest in 2050 will look quite different from the forest we have now.”

Kalina Oroschakoff 

Why carbon-free Europe will still need North African energy

This article is part of the special report The World in 2050.

Goodbye African oil and gas. Hello African wind and sunshine.

Europe currently gets a lot of its energy from across the Mediterranean. That might not change in a climate-neutral world.

Most of the fossil fuels extracted from under the sands of the Sahara are burned in the European Union. Pipelines carry gas to Europe from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya — ensnaring the two sides of the Mediterranean in a web of mutual dependency.

The EU’s plans for post-carbon economy is likely to lock that in.

The sun frying the Sahara — it’s the world’s sunniest area — and the steady high winds that blow across its sands make North Africa a good place to produce the green hydrogen needed for the bloc to slash its net emissions to zero by 2050, proponents say. Hydrogen will have to be used for everything from heavy transport to heavy industry like steel and cement.

“The conditions for hydrogen production in Africa are ideal,” German Development Minister Gerd Müller said last week after signing an agreement with Morocco to set up a pilot plant to produce clean hydrogen with the goal of mitigating 100,000 tons of CO2.

The announcement was part of a broader German hydrogen strategy that aims to invest €9 billion in boosting production of the clean fuel; €2 billion of that will be used for increasing foreign production, including in Morocco.

Desert sun

The German initiative is not the only big renewable energy investment linking Morocco and the EU.

The 580-megawatt Noor Ouarzazate plant in central Morocco is the world’s largest concentrated solar power facility — with vast arrays of mirrors concentrating the sun’s power to melt salt stored in a 243-meter tower at the center of the facility. It’s aimed largely at weaning the domestic market off energy imports, but was initially built with the help of Spanish companies and technology, with some of the $2.5 billion in financing coming from Europe.

Morocco is the only North African country with a power cable linking it to the European grid, but by 2025 Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are expected to be plugged in as well. Those power links are already creating tensions; Spain last year asked the Commission to tackle carbon leakage from Morocco, as coal-fired power from across the Strait of Gibraltar is undercutting Spanish producers because Morocco doesn’t have the EU’s Emissions Trading System.

That’s a sign of how quickly energy ties can become entangled in politics.

The EU’s relationship with North Africa is about a lot more than energy — it also includes economic ties, worries about controlling migration, relationships with large immigrant populations in Western Europe and political stability in the region.

The delicacy can be seen in everything from the EU’s inept efforts to settle the chaos in Libya to frictions within the EU on how to get Algeria to open its market to greater imports of European cars.

The scope of mutual dependence in a zero-emissions world will only grow.

Today, 13 percent of the natural gas and 10 percent of the oil consumed in Europe comes from North Africa, and 60 percent of the region’s oil exports and 80 percent of its gas exports are sent north across the sea, according to a study by the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii), a foundation set up to explore the energy possibilities of deserts.

With abundant wind and sun, as well as lower labor costs, North Africa should be able to produce green hydrogen — made by using renewable energy to split water — more cheaply than most European rivals.

“Most North African countries have huge potential in terms of land and resources to produce green hydrogen from solar and wind for export,” the Dii study said; covering 8 percent of the Sahara with solar panels would be enough to supply all the energy needed by the whole planet.

Whether the fossil-rich area will see the benefits of focusing away from its primary exports is far from certain.

To ease the transition North Africa could initially produce so-called “blue hydrogen,” made by stripping natural gas and capturing the resulting CO2 emissions.

Financing such efforts in North Africa would have to be cheaper than projects based in sunny but stable parts of the EU like Spain and Greece. The region will also have to compete with hydrogen made from natural gas in countries like Russia, or exports of green hydrogen from other sunny countries like Chile.

“In the future global hydrogen economy, which I think will resemble today’s natural gas trade, there is an interesting role for Africa,” because it also has carbon storage potential in the form of depleted oil fields, said Norwegian scientist Nils Røkke, who chairs the European Energy Research Alliance and coordinates several large-scale carbon capture and storage projects.

If it works, the hydrogen could be shipped to Europe via existing pipelines, protecting the expensive infrastructure from obsolescence. The model also fits with a broader preoccupation from governments and companies trying to figure out how to shift pipelines from natural gas to greener fuels like biogas and hydrogen.

“The more we can have dual use of infrastructure, the better it is — also to make the transition to green hydrogen affordable in the future,” Commission Green Deal chief Frans Timmermans said earlier this month.

A hydrogen relationship

The optimistic view is that both sides will benefit from a hydrogen link.

“A joint European-North African renewable energy and hydrogen approach would create economic development, future-oriented jobs and social stability in North-African countries, potentially reducing the number of economic migrants from the region to Europe,” the Dii study found.

Creating a long-term green hydrogen industry would be “a geopolitical positive because it would give developing countries something to sell to us, which should be in the interest of Europe,” said Georg Zachmann, an energy expert with Bruegel, a Brussels think tank.

But the potential downside is that the EU becomes reliant on North Africa as a key producer of one of the bloc’s most vital fuels — with all the baggage that entails.

Political and economic instability has made securing financing and banking services a challenge for such projects in the past — not to mention the perennial risk of accusations of colonialism.

“Remember Desertec — it didn’t go anywhere,” said one industry official, referring to the 2009 German-led investor consortium hoping to build and connect Saharan wind and solar farms to Europe via high-voltage cables.

The project — which helped get the Noor Ourzazate plant in Morocco off the ground — had initially hoped to cover 20 percent of Europe’s needs by 2050 by building a string of similar plants in the region.

But by 2013 amid mounting criticism Desertec CEO Paul van Son backed down, acknowledged the out-of-Africa model amounts to “one-dimensional thinking,” and re-centered the project on helping North Africa meet domestic demand with clean energy.

And when Europe got out, China got in, nabbing contracts from the Moroccan government in 2018 to expand the initial 160 MW capacity plant to its current 580 MW.

“China stands ready and it already benefited from a decline of the political role of the EU,” said Federico Borsari, a researcher at the ISPI think tank in Milan.

That project is a warning for future renewable energy projects in North Africa, said Zachmann.

Even with EU partnership, African countries may prefer to first take care of their own energy needs with renewable installations, before having enough surplus to export in the form of hydrogen.

Kalina Oroschakoff and Giorgio Leali contributed reporting.

EU leaders’ video summit: Live blog

EU leaders meet (virtually) on Friday to discuss the bloc’s EU budget and recovery fund plans.

It’s the first opportunity for leaders to state their positions on the European Commission’s plans for a €1.1 trillion seven-year budget and a four-year €750 billion recovery fund to help Europe emerge from the coronavirus crisis.

European Council President Charles Michel has sought to play down expectations of how much progress is expected. Countries need to resolve disputes over the size and duration of the bloc’s recovery package as well as how funding should be allocated and overseen, he told leaders ahead of the meeting.

Scroll down for updates.

**A message from the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union: Croatia’s first Council Presidency took place in extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances. Seven years after we joined the European Union, and twenty years after the 2000 Zagreb Summit, Croatia was ready to step up to leadership, building a strong Europe in a world of challenges.**


Photos Club World Championship 2012

Photos: Juantorena, Stokr, Wallace, Atanasijevic, Birarelli, William, Mikhaylov and Sergio were the stars of Club World Championship 2012 in Qatar.



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Best players of Serie A1 at the midpoint of the season

A first half of the season in Italy is just behind us! Tsvetan Sokolov is still the best performer. The king of serve is Osmany Juantorena.


Best scorer
1. Tsvetan Sokolov (Bre Banca Lannutti Cuneo): 222 points / 5,84 per set
2. Gundars Celitans (Casa Modena): 209 points / 5,10 per set
3. Niels Klapwijk (Tonno Callipo Vibo Valentia: 202 points / 5,18 per set

Best spiker (number of won attacks)

1. Tsvetan Sokolov (Bre Banca Lannutti Cuneo): 182 points / 38 sets
2. Niels Klapwijk (Tonno Callipo Vibo Valentia): 176 points / 39 sets
3. Gundars Celitans (Casa Modena): 174 points / 41 sets

Best server

1. Osmany Juantorena (Itas Diatec Trentino): 22 aces / 33 sets
    Ivan Zaytsev (Lube Banca Marche Macerata): 22 aces / 43 sets
3. Gundars Celitans (Casa Modena): 18 aces / 41 sets
4. Matey Kaziyski (Itas Diatec Trentino): 17 aces / 36 sets

Best blocker

1. Marko Podrascanin (Lube Banca Marche MAcerata): 42 blocks / 42 sets
2. Victor Yosifov (BCC-NEP Castellana Grotte): 35 blocks / 38 sets
    Marcus Bohme (Altotevere San Giustino): 35 blocks / 41 sets
4. Andrea Semenzato (Sir Safety Perugia): 33 blocks / 40 sets

Best receiver (excellent receptions)

1. Simone Parodi (Lube Banca Marche Macerata): 112 / 43 sets
2. Andrea Bari (Itas Diatec Trentino): 95 / 37 sets
    Jeroen Rauwerdink (Andreoli Latina): 95 / 41 sets
4. Andrea Cesarini (Altotevere San Giustino): 92 / 41 sets


3 awards: Rauwerdink (Latina), Raphael, Juantorena (both Trento), Petric (Perugia), Sokolov (Cuneo), Celitans (Modena), De Cecco (Piacenza).

2 awards: Ngapeth (Cuneo), Zaytsev (Macerata), Maric (San Giustino), Vettori, Zlatanov (both Piacenza), Klapwijk (Vibo Valentia), Kaziyski (Trento), Vujevic Perugia).

1 award: Deroo, Quesque, Baranowicz (all Modena), Holt (Piacenza), Savani, Podrascanin, Starovic, Parodi, Travica (all Macerata), Ter Horst, Meoni (both Verona), Urnaut, Farina, Kaliberda, Coscione (all Vibo Valentia), Verhees, Fragkos, Jarosz (all Latina), Grbic, Wijsmans (both Cuneo), Cebulj (San Giustino), Zhukouski (Ravenna), Djuric, Stokr (both Trento), Semenzato (Perugia), Ferreira A., Sabbi, Yosifov (all Castellana Grotte).


Women’s Champions League: Who will be the best in Europe?

Less than 24 hours before the start of the final stage of Europe’s most elitist and prestigious competition, coaches and captains of the participating teams informed the press about their last preparations for Saturday’s semifinal duels and took time to answer the questions of the many journalists from international and national newspapers, radio stations as well as TV channels.


Coaches and captains were united in saying that the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League Final Four – Women was the strongest edition ever with four teams ready to win Europe’s club crown.

Marcello Abbondanza, Head Coach Rabita Baku (AZE): “We are very happy to finally attack the last stage of the competition. My team is composed of internationally experienced players, I’m sure they’re prepared.”

Mira Golubovic, Captain Rabita Baku (AZE): “Since August we are working hard for that kind of competition. There is no doubt about our enthusiasm. We’ll do everything to reach the gold medal match.”

Giovanni Guidetti, Head Coach Vakifbank Istanbul (TUR): “I’m very proud of being here. We had very strong opponents so far; I’m happy we finally made it to the last stage. I’m convinced that this year’s Final Four is the strongest one since several years. The four teams represent probably the best leagues in Europe.”

Gözde Sonsirma, Captain Vakifbank Istanbul (TUR): “It’s a great honor for me to play here against Europe’s best teams. My teammates and I will do our very best to make it to Sunday’s final. On the other side, we are looking forward for an outstanding Volleyball show.”

Carlo Parisi, Head Coach Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio (ITA): “It’s a historical moment for our club and team. We are very proud to represent our city and country amongst the best teams in Europe. I’m very curious about the outcome of the competition; the level will be very high.”

Christina Bauer, Captain Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio (ITA): “It’s a big achievement to have made it to the Final Four. Our motivation is huge; we will give a 100% to fulfill our wishes.”

Massimo Barbolini, Head Coach Galatasaray Daikin Istanbul (TUR): “It’s a big pleasure for me to return to the Final Four of the CEV Volleyball Champions League. My team has worked very hard during the last month; I think we are ready.”

Eleonora Lo Bianco, Captain Galatasaray Daikin Istanbul (TUR): “Many thanks to our club for hosting this outstanding tournament. I hope my team will return the favor on the court. We are all waiting for tomorrow, let the Final Four start.”

The matches of the final four will be live streamed – for free – by CEV and partner Make sure you won’t miss any single moment of that much anticipated weekend whereby the next queens of Europe’s Volleyball will be crowned!



World League: Korea and Canada picked up three points

Canada and Korea claimed the opening wins in World League 2013. Gavin Schmitt and rest beat the Netherlands after an aligned and high level duel. However, the result would be quite reverse, if only the Dutch had not committed 41 unforced mistakes. In the second match, Korea left no doubt Japan in great volleyball derby of Asia to local fans amazement, who filled the  Hwasung Indoor Gym in Hwasung.


Canada – Netherlands 3 – 1 (25-22, 22-25, 27-25, 27-25)

Canada: Schneider 1, Winters 10, Brinkman 3, Schmitt 23, Perrin 10, Simac 6, Bann (L) and Mainville 3, Van Lankvelt 1, Vigrass 3

The Netherlands: Abdel-Aziz 8, Ter Horst 7, Koelewijn 9, Kooistra 28, Rauwerdink 17, Bontje 6, Jorna (L) and Van Bemmelen, Van Garderen

Gavin Schmitt led the Canadian attack with 23 points while Fred Winters and Gordon Perrin added 10 each. More than 3,500 fans attended the match at the Colisee. The match was also carried live across Canada on Sportsnet.

“I feel great about the match,” said Winters.  “Winning was the most important thing. It was our first highly competitive match in a long time and we responded.”

For the Netherlands, Wytze Kooistra was the match’s top scorer with 28 points while Jeroen Rauwerdink added 17.

“We had a lot of opportunities in the third and fourth sets,” said Kooistra.  “Canada played a very consistent match and made it difficult for us. We can’t make mistakes like that against such a strong team.”

The Dutch struggled with the serve and made 41 unforced errors in the match compared to 22 for the Canadians.

The turning point in the match was in the third set as Canada scored six straight points to overcome a 16-19 deficit. That run included consecutive blocks by Louis-Pierre Mainville and Adam Simac, and a Schmitt service ace that tied the set at 19-19.

Schmitt was the catalyst again in the fourth with two straight kills to pull the Canadians to 14-14 after trailing the set to that point.

“We showed a lot of character,” said Winters. “They let us off the hook with their serves and we knew we could get back in the game. The third set was a huge momentum shift.”

Hoag said he wasn’t surprised the match was close.
“This is like an Olympic-caliber tournament,” he said. “I’m expecting tough matches every night.Our offence was becoming too predictable going into the third and Louis-Pierre and Olivier (Faucher) came in late in the sets and they did the job.”

Dutch coach Edwin Benne was pleased to see his young team perform at such a high level.

“It was a high level game,” said Benne.  “It was physical on both sides. I’m not happy with the loss, but I’m very happy with the level of play.”

The two countries meet again on Saturday at the Colisee at 4pm (local time).


Korea – Japan 3 – 1 (25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 25-19)

Korea: Han 1, Moon 11, Shin 13, C.W Park 14, Jeon 14, S.H Park 12, K.J Lee (L) and M.G Lee, Kwak 6, Bu, J.H Kim

Japan: Kondoh 1, Fukuzawa 17, Suzuki 6, Yako 13, Gottsu 2, Yamamura 4, Nagano (L) and Koshikawa 14, Imamura 1, Yokota 4, Yoneyama   

Many expected that the match-up between the two Asian rivals would be tight, just like their encounters in the past, but the Koreans recorded a strong finish against Japan and foiled Gary Sato’s debut as Japan’s head coach.

Korea led all throughout the first set from a balanced attack tactic from their players.

Korea still managed to outplay the Japanese in the second set and did not allow the Japanese to make any run. Japan seemed to have trouble with their teamwork and committed critical errors which the Koreans took advantage of.

Japan adjusted on their attack and utilized Tatsuya Fukuzawa to lead the Japanese surge, even taking their first lead in the match and posting a comfortable lead midway through the third set. Korea tried to get back from this setback on Park Chul-Woo and Moon Sung-Min’s strong plays.

Korea was then forced to play wounded as Moon suffered a knee injury and was replaced by Jeon Kwang-In. Japan capitalised on the absence of Moon and coped with Korea’s offensive barrage to take the third set 21-25.

Moon’s replacement, Jeon, stepped up to the challenge and sent out a series of blasting spikes that destroyed Japan’s block in the fourth set. Jeon got help from Park Sang-Ha and Shin Yung-Suk who excellently showed its prowess on the defensive end. Park and Shin teamed up with setter Han Sun-Soo who orchestrated Korea’s unstoppable quick plays, which finally sealed the Korean team victory at 25-19.

Photo: FIVB


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Bulgaria started European Championship 2013 preparation

The Bulgarian national team started the preparation for the European Championship in Poland and Denmark (20.09-29.09).



15 volleyball players took part in the first training, which was held in sports hall “Hristo Botev” in Sofia, Bulgaria. The only missing was the libero Teodor Salparov, who has received a personal permission to join the team on Monday. The Italian Camillo Placi , who is head coach of the Bulgaria, wasn’t in the sports hall neither. Placi is still in Italy, where is recovering from an illness. Let us remind you that Placi got ill during the Finals in FIVB World League 2013 in Argentina.

The first training of the Bulgarian team was lead by the assistant of Placi- Nayden Naydenov. Vladimir Nikolov- menager of the team, was attending the practice too.

Nikolay Nikolov and Teodor Todorov also took part in the training. Both missed the World League 2013 because of injuries.

Here is the list of the players who are going to take part in the trainings for ECH 2013:

Georgi Bratoev
Georgi Manchev
Dobromir Dimitrov

Danail Milushev
Tsvetan Sokolov

Aleksander Simeonov
Valentin Bratoev
Nikolay Penchev
Todor Aleksiev
Todor Skrimov

Middle blockers:
Viktor Yosifov
Nikolay Nikolov
Svetoslav Gotsev
Teodor Todorov

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Martin Bozhilov
Teodor Salparov

Female Asian Championships – 2nd Round Results

Yesterday and today teams played in Second Group Stage. Teams from Pools E and F will be seeded in Quarterfinals, others will fight for places from 9th to 16th. Tournament will be played till Saturday.



2nd Round Results (Lower Places): (*-matches played in First Round, which are included later)

Pool G
Austrialia – Mongolia 3-0 (25-20 25-23 25-18)*
Indonesia – Hong Kong 3-0 (25-21 25-21 25-23)*
Australia – Hong Kong 3-2 (22-25 25-9 24-26 25-21 15-9)
Indonesia – Mongolia 3-1 (25-18 18-25 25-18 25-23)
Mongolia – Hong Kong 3-1 (25-16 23-25 25-22 25-17)
Australia – Indonesia 3-1 (23-25 30-28 25-14 25-18)

RankTeamWin/LossSetsPoints1.Australia3/09-382.Indonesia2/17-463.Mongolia1/24-734.Hong Kong0/33-91

Pool H
India – Philippines 3-0 (25-22 26-24 25-12)*
Sri Lanka – Myanmar 3-0 (26-24 25-17 25-20)*
Myanmar – India 3-2 (25-23 22-25 25-22 19-25 15-12)
Philippines – Sri Lanka 3-2 (19-25 25-18 19-25 25-23 15-11)
Philippines – Myanmar 3-0 (25-18 25-22 25-18)
India – Sri Lanka 3-0 (25-13 25-15 25-19)

RankTeamWin/LossSetsPoints1.India2/18-372.Philippines2/16-553.Sri Lanka1/25-644.Myanmar1/23-82

Classification 13th-16th (19.09):
Mongolia – Myanmar
Sri Lanka – Hong Kong

Classification 9th-12th (19.09):
Australia – Philippines
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2nd Round Results (Top 8): (*-matches played in First Round, which are included later):

Pool E (Points Ratio decided about places)
Thailand – Kazakhstan 1-3 (24-26 24-26 25-17 20-25)*
Japan – Vietnam 3-0 (25-6 25-13 25-16)*
Thailand – Japan 3-1 (25-15 25-23 23-25 30-28)
Kazakhstan – Vietnam 3-0 (25-21 25-23 25-22)
Thailand – Vietnam 3-0 (25-11 25-15 25-15)
Kazakhstan – Japan 1-3 (15-25 15-25 26-24 12-25)


Pool F
China – Iran 3-0 (25-11 25-16 25-17)*
Chinese Taipei – South Korea 0-3 (14-25 15-25 13-25)*
South Korea – Iran 3-0 (25-14 25-10 25-18)
China – Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-11 25-14 25-11)
Iran – Chinese Taipei 0-3 (18-25 15-25 14-25)
South Korea – China 0-3 (22-25 14-25 17-25)

RankTeamWin/LossSetsPoints1.China3/09-092.South Korea2/06-363.Chinese Taipei1/23-634.Iran0/30-90

Quarterfinals (19.09):
Japan – Iran
Kazakhstan – South Korea
Thailand – Chinese Taipei
Vietnam – China

Next matches will be played on Friday. On Saturday we will get know all places from 9th to 16th and will be played semifinals 1st-4th and 5th-8th. On Sunday it will be finals for places 1st to 8th.

MGCC: Brazil on top after 2 days!

On Tuesday started men’s World Grand Champions Cup. In last 2 days, best teams played in Kyoto. Today we have rest day, teams move to Tokyo. After 2 games played by each team, leader with full set of point are “Canarinhos” coached by Bernardinho.

Day 1:

ITALY – RUSSIA 3-1 (28-26 25-20 19-25 27-25) MVP: Dragan Travica
Italy: Travica (4), Lanza (13), Birarelli (9), Zaytsev (20), Kovar (9), Piano (7), Rossini (L) and Dolfo, Berretta (1)
Russia: Grankin (2), Spiridonov (12), Muserskiy (17), Pavlov (11), Sivozhelez (4), Apalikov (7), Ermakov (L) and Mikhaylov (6), Ilinykh (8)

Despite not having much time to work with their coach prior to the competition, Italy looked sharp early with stuff blocks from Lanza and Emanuele Birarelli early to frustrate the Russians, jumping ahead 5–1. But Russia eventually put together a good run mid-set to draw within one at 15–14, Alexey Spiridonov winning a tough joust at the net. The towering Muserskiy would later give his team a literal kickstart, saving a point with his foot to help Russia tie at 20–20. Spiridonov’s fifth score gave Russia a set point, but Italy’s Dragan Travica brought his side back with an ace, and a Zaytsev (six points in the set) block stuff stole the first set for the Italians 28–26 on their third set point.

The second set again saw Italy more composed than their counterparts early, edging ahead 9–5 after some costly Russian errors. Again Russia stuck close, pulling within one at 10–9. But the Italians jumped back ahead just as quick powered by the fierce attacking Filippo Lanza (five points in the set) whose hard spike gave his side a commanding 21–15 lead. Maxim Mikhaylov brought some spark of the bench for Russia, but Italy stuck it out, taking the second set 25–20.

But Italy appeared to lose momentum in the third, as strong serving from Nikolay Apalikov put Russia ahead, his ace making it 12–7. Strong attacking from Mikhaylov and Dmitriy Ilinykh helped Russia keep their lead, their defenders also managing to keep an aggressive Zaytsev under wraps. Another ace from Sergey Grankin gave Russia set point at 24–18, and from there they would take the third set 25–19, but still down two sets to one.

But ultimately it was Italy who would make less mistakes, and with a sensational block by their captain Emanuele Birarelli on the explosive Mikhaylov, followed by a hard Lanza spike, the Italians were way ahead 10–3. Russia’s Pavlov countered with strong attacking of his own from the wing, but two scores from Italy’s Thomas Beretta off the bench had Russia on the brink 20–14. But Russia showed resilience, scoring six straight to tie at 20–20. But it proved a little too late, as Zaytsev kicked his attack into high gear, scoring a pair of critical points late, to help his side win 27–25, 3 sets to 1.

Team Stats:

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Team Leaders:

ActionsPointsSpike ptsSpike %BlockAceErrorsIvan Zaytsev201849%117Dmitriy Muserskiy171689%107


IRAN – BRAZIL 1-3 (16-25 17-25 27-25 23-25) MVP: Bruno Rezende
Iran: Marouflakrani (2), Zarini (5), Mousavi (8), Ghafour (15), Ghaemi (6), Gholami (8), Zarif (L) and Mahmoudi (4), Mahdavi, Mobasheri (7), Davoodi, Tashakori
Brazil: Bruno, Lucarelli (11), Lucas (9), Wallace (19), Mauricio Borges (16), Sidão (15), Mario Junior (L) and Evandro (3), Raphael

Both sides were fired up to start this contest, with Ricardo Lucarelli Santos De Souza bringing high flying attacks up front for Brazil, while Amir Ghafour and Hamzeh Zarini countered strong for Iran. But it was Brazil’s Sidão who pushed his side ahead with a stubborn stuff block on an attacking Zarini to make it 9–6, and serving very well to extend to 14–9. From there, Brazil cruised with an evenly distributed attack, blocking well throughout, capped by an incredible stuff by Lucas Saatkamp on Iran’s Farhad Ghaemi, taking the set 25–16.

The second set saw both teams stumble out of the gate, with a number of lead changes. Iran edged ahead 13–12 on a furious kill by Mousavi Eraghi, but the Brazilians appeared to take offense, responsing with a six point run capped by a stuff block and a hard spike by Lucas to make it 18–13. Lucarelli’s pipe attack gave Brazil set point at 24–17, and from there Sidão served it out with an ace, taking the second set 25–17 (2–0).

Iran looked serious to start the third however, with attacks from Mousavi Eraghi and Mobasheri Demneh putting them up 7–4. But Brazil, despite a flurry of errors, hung close, and eventually edging past Iran, again thanks to Sidão, who put his third block stuff on Demneh and followed with a spike to make it 14–12. Brazil kept the lead until late when they had a suddenly lapse in composure that let Iran tie it up. Iran showed incredible persistence, going ahead on an ace by Ghafour, 22–21. Brazil rebounded but squandered two set points before a pair of Iranian blocks by Ghaemi and Gholami stole the third set from the Brazilians 27–25, Iran down two sets to one.

Ghaemi continued to frustrate Brazil in the fourth, planting a blistering ace behind the South Americans to edge ahead 10–9. And despite a number of mistakes on their part, Brazil jumped back ahead thanks to three consecutive kills from Lucarelli, but gave the lead right back as a mis-cue between Bruno Mossa Rezende and Sidão made it 18–17 for Iran. But the difference in this set would be Brazil’s Mario Da Silva Pedreira Junior, whose incredible pancake save late led to a spike to make it 23–22 for his side. From there Brazil took the set 25–23, and the match 3–1, on a hard spike from Evandro M. Guerra.

Team Stats:

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Team Leaders:

ActionsPointsSpike ptsSpike %BlockAceErrorsAmir Ghafour151135%3111Wallace De Souza191950%0012


UNITED STATES – JAPAN 3-1 (25-17 25-17 21-25 25-20) MVP: Matthew Anderson
USA: Christenson (5), Anderson (21), Lee (10), Menzel (14), Priddy (7), Holt (18), E. Shoji (L) and K. Shoji
Japan: Imamura, Fukuzawa (12), Matsumoto (5), Shimizu (7), Koshikawa (5), Yamamura (1), Nagano (L) and Kondoh (1), Yokota (6), Ishijima (4), Chijiki (2), Yoneyama (1)

The USA got the block party going right out of the gate, with David Lee and Reid Priddy frustrating Kunihiro Shimizu on three consecutive points to go up 8–3. A powerful Jeffrey Menzel spike down center put the USA in total control at 17–8, and despite some excitement off the bench from Japan’s Yusuke ‘Gottsu’ Ishijima, the host side couldn’t get much rolling. Anderson pitched in two hard spikes to put his side ahead 21–12, and from there the captain Reid Priddy closed it out with a cross-court smash, 25–18, taking the first set.

The USA carried this momentum into the second set, posting 7 uninterrupted points until a Shimizu spike made it 7–1. The Kyoto fans lent their support with chants of ‘Gori! Gori!’ a reference to the southpaw’s famously long arms. This seemed to briefly energize the home team in the middle of the set, as Tatsuya Fukuzawa and Yuta Yoneyama found some daylight between the USA block to make it 15–8. But the USA lead proved insurmountable, as Holt helped close the set with a stunning block stuff on a flying Fukuzawa to make it 23–16, and then a hard kill to finish it 25–17, two sets zero.

To the delight of the home crowd, Japan did get out in front of the USA in the third set, sparked by an enthusiastic Kazuyoshi Yokota who delivered some smart play at the net, helping his team ahead 10–5. One of the highlights of the set came when Shigeru Kondoh posted a block on an attacking Priddy to make it 15–11, but Priddy – no stranger to the highlight reel himself – fired right back, unfazed, on the next point for a kill. Japan was fortunate late in the set, withstanding an offensive onslaught from Matt Anderson, whose four points brought the USA within two at 23–21. But Fukuzawa would shut him down on set point, with a block stuff to take the set 25–21 (two sets to one for the USA).

Fukuzawa put his side up 2–0 with an ace to start the fourth set, but Holt responded for the USA with more spectacular blocking, posting his sixth and seventh block stuffs consecutively to go ahead 4–2. He’d put his eight on a frustrated Gottsu to make it 13–9, but Koshikawa brought Japan back to within one with an ace and a spike, 17–16. But Micah Christenson’s third block of the match, on Gottsu, put the USA ahead 20–17, and from there they would close it out on an Anderson score, 25–20.

Team Stats:

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Team Leaders:

ActionsPointsSpike ptsSpike %BlockAceErrorsMatthew Anderson211946%0212Tatsuya Fukuzawa12947%219


Day 2:

ITALY – IRAN 2-3 (24-26 25-16 23-25 25-23 12-15) MVP: Adel Gholami
Italy: Baranowicz (4), Lanza (14), Birarelli (10), Zaytsev (14), Kovar (17), Beretta (8), Rossini (L) and Dolfo, Piano, Vettori (14)
Iran: Marouflakrani (2), Zarini (6), Mousavi (17), Mahmoudi (16), Ghaemi (9), Gholami (7), Zarif (L) and Davoodi (1), Mobasheri (3), Mirzajanpour (5), Mahdavi

Iran served up trouble for the Italians early in the first, with a pair of aces from Farhad Ghaemi and Adel Gholami putting their side ahead 6–2 forcing Italy into a timeout to regroup. They came back onto the court refocused, and hung close until late, when a Ghaemi stuff on Italy captain Emanuele Birarelli helped spark a five-point run to give Iran a 23–19 advantage. Italy rallied with great blocking from Michele Baranowicz and Birarelli, but Iran would capitalize on their third set point, with Gholami putting a stuff right back on Italy’s Baranowicz, 26–24, one set to zero.

The second set was equally competitive in the early stages, with multiple attacks from Italy’s Ivan Zaytsev and and Iran’s Mousavi Eraghi canceling each other out. But a few misfires at the net by Iran’s Ghaemi gave Italy the momentum to pull off a six-point run to go head 14–8. A Jiri Kovar block on Rahman Davoodi, who came in off the bench for Iran, extended Italy’s lead to 20–12. But more scoring from Zaytsev and Birarelli (five points each in the set) would take the second set for the Italians, a kill from the latter making it 25–16, one set apiece.

In the third set, Thomas Beretta got his game going, edging Italy ahead 9–6 with an ace, following with a hard spike, and then block on Mousavi Eraghi to make it 15–12 for the Italians. With both sides defending well, it was Italy who lapsed first with a pair of errant attacks from Birarelli letting Iran ahead 23–22, and that was all the Asian champs needed, as Mahmoudi’s eleventh score of the match took the third set 25–23.

Iran’s Mousavi Eraghi showed why he deserves to be mentioned among the world’s best blockers, with three straight stuffs  putting his side up 5–1 to open the fourth set. But Italy powered back with aggressive serving from Luca Vettori (off the bench) and Kovar who combined for an amazing five aces to help Italy jump back ahead 12–8. Iran battled back to tie 21–21, but Italy would narrowly take this set 25–23, thanks to great defensive hustle by the libero Salvatore Rossini who set up Kovar for a score, evening the match at two sets each.

Iran looked sharp in the tie-break with Mousavi Eraghi continuing his great play with a pair of kills and an ace to take a 7–4 lead. Italy responded by hammering away on the right side with Vettori with some success, but Mousavi Eraghi finally shut him down with his seventh block to make it 12–7, and then again with his eighth to give match point at 14–10. A Mahmoudi spike would then clinch the set 15–12, and the match 3–2.

Team Stats:

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Team Leaders:

ActionsPointsSpike ptsSpike %BlockAceErrorsJiri Kovar171243%239Mohammad Mousavi17758%827


BRAZIL – UNITED STATES 3-0 (31-29 25-23 25-23) MVP: Mauricio Borges
Brazil: Bruno (3), Lucarelli (7), Lucas (8), Wallace (12), Mauricio Borges (13), Sidão (9), Mario Junior (L) and Evandro (4), Raphael, Mauricio Souza
USA: Christenson (4), Rooney (10), Lee (4), Anderson (17), Priddy (10), Holt (8), E. Shoji (L) and K. Shoji (1)

Brazil pressured the USA with aggressive serving to start what would be an epic first set, edging ahead 10–6 with Ricardo Lucarelli and Mauricio performing well. The USA would rally close, but Matt Anderson had difficulty finding his rhythm against the Brazilian blockers, his errant spike giving the South Americans a 20–16 advantage. Sean Rooney compensated on the right side, but Brazil moved ahead late to grab set point 24–22. But the Americans didn’t go without a fight, turning away five set points by the Brazilians, with Kawika Shoji defending well. But it was Brazil’s Wallace who stepped up for his side, with a kill to deny the USA’s second set point, and another to give them the advantage they needed to close, 31–29, one set to zero.

The teams were equally close through the second, exchanging points until they reached 9–9. But the USA would take seven of the next nine points to make it 16–11 at the second TTO, led by Reid Priddy and Micah Christenson who were serving well, each with an ace. Brazil rallied back to tie at 20–20, with a stunning block by Evandro Guerra off the bench on Anderson on the wing. Sidão gave Brazil set point 24–23 with a hard block on Rooney, and that led to a score by the captain, Bruno Mossa Rezende, after a wonderful get by Mario Da Silva Pedreira Junior. Rezende then leaped joyously into Mario’s arms to celebrate having taken two difficult sets from the tough Americans.

Both sides showed signs of fatigue early in the third, with a number of errors on both sides, as they edged out together to 10–10. Brazil held a 16–14 lead at the second TTO, and held a slim lead until Anderson drew the USA even with a kill, and then ahead 23–22 with a block stuff. But Brazil’s Lucarelli would have his revenge, putting a block of his own on Anderson on match point to give another hard fought set to Brazil, 25–23, and the match 3–0.

Team Stats:

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Team Leaders:

ActionsPointsSpike ptsSpike %BlockAceErrorsMauricio Borges131053%216Matthew Anderson171342%3110


RUSSIA – JAPAN 3-0 (25-16 25-17 25-18) MVP: Alexey Spiridonov
Russia: Grankin (4), Spiridonov (10), Muserskiy (7), Mikhaylov (9), Ilinykh (12), Apalikov (6), Ermakov (L) and Ashchev (6)
Japan: Imamura (1), Fukuzawa (1), Matsumoto (1), Ishijima (1), Koshikawa (7), Yokota (3), Nagano (L) and Shimizu (14), Kondoh (2), Yoneyama (3), Toimoto (1)

Russia didn’t give an inch to Japan to start this match, with no Japanese player scoring a point until Kazuyoshi Yokota hit a hard spike down center to make it 11-4. Russian attackers Spiridonov, Dmitriy Muserskiy, and Maxim Mikhaylov were a handful for the Japan defense, and the home team just couldn’t come up with an answer. Kazuyoshi Yokota tried a heated attack of his own, but Russia defended it well and with Spiridonov fired it back just as quick to go ahead 21-12. They’d cruise from there to take the first set 25-16.

Japan managed to stay a little closer to Russia in the second, although Russia’s big man Muserskiy did his best to spoil their efforts, delivering a blistering jump serve for an ace to make it 9-4. The Russian attack was frustrated momentarily mid-set by Yoshihiko Matsumoto and Shimizu, who put consecutive block stuffs on Ilinykh for scores to make it 15-10. From there Japan did find some rhythm, but the deficit was too big. A hard Spiridonov spike nearly knocked over Yoneyama, making it 23-16, a point symbolic of the punishment Japan was taking in the match. Mikhaylov underscored the message with a vicious cross-court kill to take the set 25-17.

Shigeru Kondoh was serving well for Japan in the third set, with an early ace to help keep his side closer than in the previous two sets. He followed up with a clever setter dump to pull within one point of Russia at 10-9. But Russia rolled on from there, taking eight of the next ten points to go ahead 17-11 on a run capped by consecutive blocks from Andrey Ashchev and Sergey Grankin. It was easy sailing from there, as they closed it out 25-18 without much difficulty.

Team Stats:

ActionsSpike pointsSpike %BlockServeDigsRec

Team Leaders:

ActionsPointsSpike ptsSpike %BlockAceErrorsDmitriy Ilinykh12945%307Kunihiro Shimizu141148%308



RankTeamWin/LossSetsSmall PointsPoints1.Brazil2/06-1181-15862.Italy1/15-4208-20143.Russia1/14-3171-15034.USA1/13-4171-16035.Iran1/14-5188-20926.Japan0/21-6130-1710

Descriptions: FIVB

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