India edge out fancied Brazil

Despite the 36-34, 22-25, 21-25, 25-17, 16-14 win, which gave the Indians their only two points in the second round, the Navjit Singh-led team finished at the bottom of Pool F while Brazil settled for the third spot with four points. World number one Argentina finished on top with seven points and Serbia (5) grabbed the second spot to book their semifinal berths.

India will take on Iran while Brazil will lock horns with Spain on Tuesday to decide the 5th-8th places. In the semifinals, Serbia face Pool E toppers Russia and Argentina take on the United States, who finished second in Pool E, on August 16.

Needing a win to qualify for the semifinals, Brazil got off to a good start with skipper Otavio Pinto and Lucas Loh taking charge but India, banking once again on Dhanabalan Selvaprabhu, recovered and claimed the opening set.

The Rafael Martins-Ricardo Lucarelli combine helped Brazil bag the second set and third sets quite comfortably. However, with spiker Christopher John finally featuring prominently on the scoreboard, India looked a much stronger offensive unit, storming back to win the fourth set.

In the decider, Brazil faltered on several occasions to hand the Indians the match. “I wish we had played this way against Serbia,” said India coach HM Kumara. “We had nothing to lose and the team played better. John played a great match.”

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