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Semifinalists confirmed for Women’s World Championship

 
Semifinal schedule is set with Brazil playing USA and Italy hosting China on Saturday
Milan, Italy October 10, 2014 – The top four teams have been confirmed for the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 after China and United States were ticketed to the semifinals based on results of the final day of the third round in Milan on Friday.

Neither China or United States played on Friday, but the losses suffered by Dominican Republic and Russia to Brazil and Italy, respectively, moved them into the final four. Brazil and Italy had already comprised half the bracket by qualifying on Thursday, but were playing for the coveted No. 1 seeds from each pool along with momentum.

With two-time defending champions Russia’s elimination from the tournament, a different country will step to the top step of the World Championship podium since Italy captured the title in 2002. The World Championship is held every four years.

Italy won their meeting with Russia 25-12, 25-17, 12-25, 25-23 in front of a sold-out Mediolanum Forum. Italy improved to 10-1 in the tournament, while Russia finished the World Championship in fifth place overall. The Russians were 6-5 overall, having lost five of their final seven matches after having their 17-match win streak snapped by the USA to conclude the first round.

Brazil defeated Dominican Republic 25-19, 25-21, 25-17 to remain the only undefeated team in this World Championship. Brazil are on a course to possibly win their first-ever World Championship after coming up short in the last two World Championships (2006 and 2010) with the silver medal. Dominican Republic finished tied for fifth in this world Championship, shattering their previous best-ever finish of 11th in 1998.

The semifinals will have four of the top five teams in the world slated for action. No. 1 Brazil will face No. 2 USA in the first semifinal on Saturday at 17:30, while No. 4 Italy will host No. 5 China at 20:45 (please note new match time).

The third phase consisted of two pools of three teams playing a round robin over three days that started Wednesday. The top two teams in each pool advance to the crossover semifinals on Saturday, followed by the medal matches on Sunday.

Pool G
October 8: Italy def. USA 25-23, 25-22, 25-20
October 9: USA def. Russia 25-19, 25-23, 15-25, 25-23
October 10: Italy def. Russia 25-12, 25-17, 12-25, 25-23

Pool H
October 8: Brazil def. China 25-19, 25-16, 25-15
October 9: China def. Dominican Republic 22-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 15-12
October 10: Brazil def. Dominican Republic 25-19, 25-21, 25-17

Semifinals on October 11
Brazil versus USA, 17:30
Italy versus China, 20:45

Updated Final Standings for Positions 5-24
5T – Russia and Dominican Republic
7T - Japan and Serbia
9T - Germany and Turkey
11T – Belgium and Bulgaria
13T - Croatia and Netherlands
15T - Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan
17T. Argentina, Canada, Thailand and Puerto Rico
21T Tunisia, Cameroon, Mexico and Cuba

Pool H
Brazil eliminates Dominican Republic - World No. 1 Brazil shut out the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-17) to top Pool H.

Brazil’s best scorers were Sheila and captain Fabiana with 13 and 12 points. Libero Camila Brait tallied 24 digs in the victory. Dominican Republic’s Prisila Rivera and captain Bethania De La Cruz contributed eight kills each. Brenda Castillo contributed 23 digs in the loss.

“I think we were really good in the first and second sets and controlled the game,” Brazil coach Ze Roberto said. “In the third set we lost our concentration at the end of the game. I think we played well, but not fantastic. I am happy about my team. We need to think about the next opponent, but don't know yet if it is USA or Russia.”

Brazil converted 43.88 percent of their attacks into points with a .313 hitting efficiency. Meanwhile, Dominican Republic was limited to a 34.4 attack percent and a .125 hitting efficiency that included 21 attack errors. The Brazilian defense held an 11-4 block advantage during the match.

These teams met for the third time at the World Championship. Brazil beat Dominican Republic in all their three encounters.

Brazil are now 11-0 in the tournament. In 12 of the previous 16 World Championships, the winner claimed the gold without dropping a match. Brazil have won 32 of their last 34 World Championship matches with the only two setbacks in the run being the title matches in 2006 and 2010 to Russia.
Dominican Republic have played their 50th match at the World Championship, the 18th team to reach this milestone.

Dominican Republic, 7-4 throughout the World Championship, had played five of their last six World Championship matches to the full five sets. Overall, the NORCECA squad played seven matches to five sets in their 11 contests.

China advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2002. They will meet Italy, the same opponent they lost the 2002 semifinal against.

Pool G
Italy clinch top seed and put USA into semifinals – In front of a sell-out crowd of 12,400 partisan fans, Italy gifted the crowd with a 25-12, 25-17, 12-25, 25-23 victory to clinch the top spot in Pool G and to improve to 11-1 overall in this World Championship.

Italy needed to win just one set to earn the top seed and Russia needed to win either 3-0 or 3-1 to move on. After the second set, Italy used five different starters for the third and fourth sets. Italy’s Valentina Diouf picked up a team-high 13 points coming off the bench, while Cristina Chirichella totaled 11 points as the only non-libero to start all four sets. Russia was paced by Tatiana Kosheleva’s 15 points, followed by Nataliya Goncharova with 13 points. 

“I am very happy for the win,” Italy captain Francesca Piccinini said. “I want to thank my teammates and now we just have to study for tomorrow's match because it will be very tough. We knew before the match we were qualified but it was not enough for us. Even though Russia did some great serves we reacted well so we are proud.”

Italy out-blocked Russia 10-7 in the match and held an 8-5 ace margin. The Italians converted 40.7 percent of their attacks with a .248 hitting efficiency – 12 of their 18 attack faults were in the final two sets. Russia was limited to a 39.1 attack percent with a .226 hitting efficiency. Russia committed 12 service errors in the match.

Italy were winless in their World Championship matches against Russia. Russia beat Italy three times in straight sets (1986, 1994 and 2006) and once in five sets (2002).

Russia have now lost five of their last seven World Championship matches, the first time in their history that has happened.


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