Osaka, Japan Nov. 15, 2003 - USA soaked up the final Olympic berth on Saturday here at the World Cup of Women’s Volleyball, the first Olympic qualification tournament when Italy lost their first set in the match against Brazil thus putting themselves out of contention. China and Brazil were already qualified after Friday’s matches in this round robin 11-match series.
Brazil looked stunning and delivered the classic highly technical Volleyball that earmarks their national style and exit the tournament with only one loss, having gone down to all-powerful China.
And to close the tournament, China left as giant killers, defeating Japan in straight sets to exit the World Cup with a perfect scorecard - 11 consecutive wins to their credit.
The Japanese team were outgunned by the Red Titans but they fought back with the tenacity that has earned them respect during the entire event.
Earlier in the opening match, USA always good at rising to the important occasion, pulverized their rivals Cuba 3-0 with a classic display of never-say-die Volleyball. They out-muscled and out-hit the Cubans. Their ace hitter Prikeba Phipps said: "We were very disappointed after we were defeated by the Brazilian team last evening, but our head coach believed in us and we have recovered our confidence."
In Site B action that only decided the bottom half of the table, Turkey, an emerging Volleyball power beat Korea 3-0, Dominican Republic took care of Argentina 3-1 and Egypt, facing a fierce opponent in Poland also failed to snatch a victory. They are the only team to leave the tournament empty-handed.
Malgorzata Glinka of Poland was, as top scorer, the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
Final Rankings (win-loss ratio in parenthesis) 1, China, (11-0); 2, Brazil, (10-1); 3, USA (8-3) – all qualified for Athens 2004 Olympic Games ; 4, Italy (7-4); 5, Japan (7-4); 6, Cuba (6-5); 7, Turkey (5-6); 8, Poland (4-7); 9, Korea (3-8); 10, Dominican Republic (3-8);11, Argentina (1-10);12, Egypt (0-10).
World Cup Magnificent Seven
Top Scorer/ MVP: Malgorzata Glinka, Poland Top Spiker: Zhao Ruirui, China Top Blocker: Valenka Menezes, Brazil Top Server: Zoila Barros Fernandez , Cuba Top Setter: Feng Kun, China Best Libero: Arlene Xavier, Brazil Special award to Japan’s Yoshie Takahashi.