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China crowned World Cup champions anew

Captain Zhu Ting and the China team receive the 2019 World Cup trophy from FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça in Sunday's awarding ceremony in Osaka
Osaka, Japan, September 29, 2019 – China sweeped all eleven of their matches in Yokohama, Sapporo and Osaka to defend their title in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Cup. 

The 2019 edition handed China a historic fifth title, following earlier honours from 1981, 1985, 2003, and 2015. They now surpass Cuba’s earlier record of four titles (1989, 1991, 1995, 1999) in the history of the competition. 

USA and Russia completed the 2019 podium as silver medallists and bronze medallists respectively. 

The 2019 champions China made perfect their unbeaten run on Sunday, just two days ahead of Chinese National Day, defeating Argentina in straight sets 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-12) in Site A’s Maruzen Intec Arena.

The Chinese side dominated on all fronts, with Gong Xiangyu leading all scorers on the board with 15 points. Setters Ding Xia and Yao Di ensured a well-distributed offence for China, enabling all hitters on the floor to score. 

Coach Lang Ping spoke fondly of her memories of Osaka, both as a player, and now as a coach of the back-to-back World Cup champions.  

"It was in 1981, I believe, I was 21 when I won this competition for the first time. It has been 30 years since then, and I'm surprised myself that I'm in this competition right now. So I think Osaka is a lucky place for me," she said.

China coach Lang Ping is welcomed by the crowd in Osaka’s Maruzen Intec Arena

Out of China’s five World Cup titles, three have been won in Osaka (1981, 2003, 2019). 

USA confirmed their runner-up position after defeating Korea 3-1 (25-21, 25-16, 16-25, 25-22) in the first match of the day in Site B’s Edion Arena. 

Andrea Drews and Kelsey Robinson were the main scorers for Karch Kiraly, firing with accuracy and good ball placement. Korea were strong in defence and had good passing but misfired their attacks at times. The American side also showed they could play good back-court defence, which made them even more potent in their counter-attacks. 

In the second set, Korea started facing problems in their passing unit as USA added pressure and precision in their serves. The Americans also started playing the middle with Chiaka Ogbogu connecting on both block and attack. 

Korea coach Stefano Lavarini signaled for a change of players, and a change of pace. Setter Hye Seon Yeum and captain Kim Yeon Koung combined well. Blocking also helped the Koreans take the third set. 

USA used their good service runs to gain advantage in the fourth set. Drews continued to attack with accuracy to chart a total of 24 points in the victory.
Russia fell to defeat against Brazil, 3-1 (28-26, 25-20, 21-25, 25-19) but the European side still earned a place on the podium as bronze medallists.

In the second match in Edion Arena on Sunday, Brazil served well enough to clog Russia’s passing lanes. They also lined their blocks well, matching their opponents’ strength. The South American side completed their armoury by playing well in the back-court, to handle the Russian’s heavy hits. 

Sunday’s victory placed Brazil in the fourth spot with a 7-4 card.

In Site A’s main event, Japan delighted the crowd at the Maruzen Intec Arena with a fifth place finish in the competition. The hosts completed their campaign with a 3-1 victory (25-18, 27-25, 24-26, 25-21) over the Netherlands. Yuki Ishii scored a match-high of 25 points.

A sold-out crowd at Maruzen Intec Arena during the Japan-Netherlands match on Sunday evening

The Dominican Republic defeated Serbia, 3-1 (25-22, 25-21, 22-25, 25-17) in the first match in Site A. The NORCECA side finished with a 6-5 card for the seventh place. 

Kenya won against Cameroon 3-1 (25-15, 26-24, 14-25, 25-21) in the all-African derby that closed the day’s schedule in Site B.

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