Athens Olympic bronze medalists Russia avenged their loss in the continental championship final by beating European champions Spain in the men's World Cup volleyball tournament yesterday.
Semen Poltavskiy scored 15 points while Sergey Tetyukhin, Yury Berezhko and Alexander Volkov scored 11 points each to lead Russia to a 25-21, 25-13, 25-15 victory for a sixth straight win.
"Spain did not play as well as they did in the European championship. For us, this is the start of the second half of the World Cup and we were determined to start it with a win," said Russian coach Vladimir Alekno.
"We kept the momentum. It was a very important match for this reason. Hopefully, we can keep our form right to the end," he said.
Captain Vadim Khamuttskikh was pleased to avenge their defeat in the European championship, saying: "It was a great challenge to get revenge and we were able to do it very well."
Spain's coach Marcelo Mendez said the Russians' performance was excellent.
"They played a great game today, especially in serve and attack," he said. "Our team could not play our 100 percent, so I'm very disappointed with this game."
The top three finishers in the 12-team round robin competition qualify for the Beijing Olympics next year.
In other games, Argentina defeated Puerto Rico 19-25, 22-25, 25-16, 25-21, 15-13, while Japan scraped a 25-17, 19-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-9 win over African champions Egypt.
In Okayama, the world champions Brazil beat Australia 25-19, 25-19, 25-21 for a 5-1 win-defeat record.
World bronze medalists Bulgaria whipped South Korea 25-20, 25-20, 25-19, while the US outclassed Tunisia 22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-17.
Bulgaria's coach Martin Stoev said he was relieved to get his team back to winning ways after two straight defeats.
"Everything was good in today's match but we probably could have done with a better points difference. It's important because points could be a big factor in deciding the first three places," Stoev said, whose team is lying in third place in the standings.
Russia are top, with Brazil second.