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Argentina top pool with win over eliminated Japan

Japan's Tatsuya Fukuzawa spikes against triple block of Argentina

Milan, Italy, October 2, 2010 – Milan said farewell to the FIVB Men's World Championship on Saturday as Javier Weber's young Argentina side beat Japan in the last second round Pool M match with a 3-1 win (25-22, 16-25, 25-14, 25-19) to advance to the third round.

Japan and especially Kunihiro Shimizu, the match's 20-point top-scorer, displayed impressive willpower but, sadly for them, to no avail as they exited the tournament having finished third in the group with two defeats. Argentina's top scorers were Facundo Conte (19), Rodrigo Quiroga (17) and Sebastiano Sole (12, including four blocks). They can now look forward to facing Serbia and Russia in Pool P, while Japan's defeat ensured France second spot in the group and a place in third round Pool O together with Italy and USA.

FIVB Men's World Championship 2010 official page

With Argentina ranked ninth in the world and Japan 12th a tight contest was expected and that is how it started. Conte shone with a brilliant reception followed by an attack from the backline, which gave Argentina an 8-7 lead at the First Technical Timeout (FTT). Japan coach Tatsuya Ueta called his first timeout at 9-7 but Argentina crept further ahead at 11-8 thanks to another Conte spike. Japan's tramline point kept them close behind but Sole's offensive play took Argentina to 16-12 at the Second Technical Timeout (STT).

The Argentine fans lit up the Mediolanum Forum with their support for their side. Yet Japan continued to test the South Americans with some delicate touches and the help of Yu Koshikawa's serve. Conte's entertaining acrobatics did not sway Japan from their focus but it was inevitably Argentina who claimed the set. Although they missed the first set-point (24-22), Conte made sure on their second attempt.

It was a pretty even affair in set two right up to the FTT with Japan ahead 8-6, after a touch of the net by Argentina. Tatsuya Fukuzawa widened the gap on serve to three points as Japan's outstanding defence earned the crowd's approval. Japan marched on. Yuta Yoneyama spiked the ball, taking advantage of an open window on the right side of the net, as his side won three points in a row. The confident east Asians rallied on 21-15 ahead; although Conte's diagonal spike earned Argentina a point, there was now no stopping Japan. A missed Argentine spike closed the set in favour of Ueta's team.

Argentina were looking for chances to move into the lead early in the third set and their efforts paid off, thanks in no small part to Conte's contribution. A beautiful rally confirmed Argentina's advantage at 7-2 and they claimed the next point too to take an 8-2 lead into the FTT. Japan picked up their game on the return, closing the gap to 9-5. When Shimizu's block narrowed the deficit further, at 10-8, the sense of threat sparked Argentina into action. It was not long until they led 16-8 at the STT and Argentina kept piling on the points – thanks to a few gems by Conte and a couple of successful blocks – and the set was theirs (25-14).
   
The lead swung from one side to the other in the opening stages of the fourth set. Not only did Takaaki Tomimatsu put in an ace to level the score 5-5, he subsequently signed a beautiful spike to level again at 7-7, The FTT had Argentina ahead 8-7 but the score remained tight. Weber's men were enjoyed great crowd support, especially when they engaged in a spectacular rally, eventually won by Japan to make it 13-13. It must have done something for their spirits though, as Argentina got to the STT with a three-point advantage (16-13) which they maintained until 18-15. Quiroga enflamed the stands with a great spike and the sound of stomping feet coming from on and off the court resounded throughout the forum until the end of the set, and match, with Argentina charging to victory as Conte finished off proceedings from the service line.


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FIVB Press Department Director - Richard Baker
Mobile. +39 334 914 1332
Email: press@fivb.org

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