NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand, July 27 2007 - Brazil brought the curtain down on the 2007 FIVB Womenís Junior World Championship with a big bang after storming past China in the showdown to retain their world crown four times in a row.
The sensational 25-22, 24-26, 26-24, 25-14 victory stretched the Brazilian girls unbeaten run in the World Championship to a record sixth time. Since the tournamentís inception in 1977 in Sao Paolo, Brazil won their first world title in 1987 in Seoul. They repeated the feat in 1989 (Lima), 2001 (Santo Domingo), 2003 (Suphan Buri), 2005 (Turkey) and 2007 in Thailand.
Fridayís exceptional win in the World Championship also continued Brazilís invincibility within one month. Their national menís team won the World League in Katowice, Poland, on July 1 and on July 15, the Brazilian menís junior squad captured the world title in Casablanca, Morocco. Twelve days later, their womenís junior team retained the world crown.
With their incredible three victories in one month, Brazil sent the warning signal to the Volleyball world that they are the indomitable giants not easily overcome in any major tournament.
The Brazilian girlsí win also dashed Chinaís dreams of winning their second world crown after they won it in the 1995 edition in Bangkok.
Meanwhile, the third-place play-off between the USA and Japan was a thriller. The smaller-built Japanese became the giant-killers in the mighty clash against the tall and towering rivals. However, the Japanese exceptional technique overcame the rivalsí height advantage and power at the net to win the hard-fought five-set thriller 25-16, 14-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-23.
Despite the loss, it was the best-ever performance of the U.S.A. in the World Championship history. At their debut attempt in 1977 in Sao Paolo, the U.S.A. returned with the fifth place, while at the previous edition in Turkey two years ago, they finished a disappointing 11th place.
In the classification matches earlier, the European champions Italy proved a cut above Ukraine to brush aside the team they lost in the preliminary round to finish at fifth place in the championship. To win the match, the Italians came from the first-set loss 18-25 to take the following sets 25-21, 25-17, 25-22.
The host girls failed to make their mark on the final day to go down to Germany, the team they beat in the group round-robin preliminaries. Germany pulled off a dramatic 3-1 (27-25, 25-10, 22-25, 25-23) victory to win the seventh place.
Despite the disappointment, it was also the best-ever performance of Thailand in their three appearances in the World Championship as hosts. In 1995, they finished a distant 13th in Bangkok and came back strongly to finish ninth place in Suphan Buri in 2003.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico claimed the ninth place after pulling off a scintillating come-from-behind 3-1 (27-29 25-19 26-24 25-17) victory over Croatia, as Dominican Republic emphatically crushed the two-time African champions Egypt in a lop-sided battle 25-15 25-21 25-11 to finish the 11th position.
The Egyptians had to leave with their heads bowed in great despair after they did not win any match in the top-flight tournament. In the previous edition in Turkey two years ago, Egypt shared the 11th place with the USA.
Interior Minister Aree Wongaraya presided over the closing ceremony and the award presentation, where only top three teams stepped on the victory podium to celebrate their remarkable success in the championship. Individual awards were also presented to outstanding players.
Best attacker: Natalia Pereira (Brazil)
Best scorer: Natalia Pereira (Brazil)
Best setter: Miho Watanabe (Japan)
Best libero: Camila Brait (Brazil)
Best server: Kelly Murphy (USA)
Best blocker: Camila Monteiro (Brazil)
Most Valuable Player (MVP): Natalia Pereira (Brazil)
9. Puerto Rico
11. Dominican Republic