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No Breaks for Tunisia Against Netherlands

July 22, 1996

In the twist of an ankle, Tunisia's slim chance of success in its Olympic volleyball debut disappeared.

One of the team's stars, Atef Loukil, was practicing jump serves before Sunday's opener against the Netherlands when he landed on a stray ball and twisted his ankle so badly he could not play.

Already an underdog, the short, young team from Africa was overwhelmed, 15-4, 15-4, 15-2, by the tallest team in the world.

"He was one of their best spikers," said Bas van de Goor, Holland's 6-foot-11 middle blocker. "It was very difficult playing against us for them."

Coach Fathi M'Kaouar, who had worked his team full-time for nearly two years, had to quickly change his lineup. "This frustrated and impeded our team's performance," he said. "Without a doubt, there were differences in all levels--experience, technique, height and morale."

The Netherlands also beat Tunisia, 3-0, at last year's World Cup, but Tunisia had tied the first set, 11-11, before the Dutch ran away with the match.

Tunisia scored two straight points to take a 3-1 lead in the first game, but the towering Dutch hitters and blockers quickly recovered.


Argentina upset defending gold medalist Brazil, 9-15, 15-8, 16-14, 15-6. The Brazilians were playing without injured captain Antonio (Carlao) Gouveia. . . . Top-ranked Italy wore down South Korea, 15-13, 15-12, 15-8. Lorenzo Bernardi had 27 kills. South Korea's Shin Jin-sik had 23 kills. . . . In Athens, Ga., Yugoslavia provided the first upset with a 10-15, 15-13, 15-10, 15-11 victory over Russia, and Cuba beat Bulgaria 15-9, 15-7, 15-7.

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