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Japan eye China as 'tough' second round opens

All eight coaches from the second round Pool E teams in Tokyo - Yu Juemin (CHN), Masayoshi Manabe (JPN), Park Sam-Ryong (KOR), Kim Cheol Yong (PER), Jerzy Matlak (POL), Vladimir Kuzyutkin (RUS), Zoran Terzic (SRB), Mehmet Bedestenlioglu (TUR)

Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2010 – Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe is playing his cards close to his chest ahead of the start of the second round of the FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 Pool E in Tokyo on Saturday.

The top four teams from Pool A and Pool D in the first round have joined together to form Pool E for the second round, and Russia and hosts Japan will start out with the advantage having won all five of their first-round matches. According to the tournament format, the Pool E teams will each play those countries from the first-round section that was not their own – meaning they will not meet for a second time the sides they have faced once already.

FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 official page

Speaking to the media on Friday, Manabe said the second round would be much tougher than the first. "We did a good job in the first round and finished top, but the second round is really tough," Manabe said. "All the teams will be fighting really hard, so it's really important that we focus well."

Japan will face China in their first match on Saturday, and although China lost three of their five first-round matches, Manabe is under no illusions about how tough the match will be.

"China are very quick, they have power, height and good technique, so we really need to focus hard," he said. "They're really tall down the middle and they block well. One of the keys will be receiving so that (setter Yoshie) Takeshita can do her usual good job and I think Saori's (Kimura) performance will also be significant.

"Teamwork will be the main thing and we are working hard on that. We must serve well and block well and receive well."

China coach Yu Juemin realises that his team must improve on their 2-3 first-round record if they want to have any chance of reaching the semifinal stage. "We didn't have a great performance in Osaka, so we need to be focused in the second round with all the great teams here. It's a big competition and it's difficult to maintain the players' condition, but we will do our best in our next game. This is China's chance."

Russia coach Vladimir Kuzyutkin, whose team, like Japan, ended the first round with five victories, is not taking anything for granted.

"I want to congratulate all the teams here," he said. "Now we're in the second round and playing hard and training hard – that's the reason why we're here. But this is sport, so there will be winners and losers. For us, we want to show how we can play and we're going to have to fight more in this round."

Russia will be up against Peru (2-3) in their first match and Peru's Korean coach, Cheol-Yong Kim, has strong respect for their skills. "They are tall and very good technically, and they finished top of their pool," he noted. "The first round was not easy, but we've trained to perform at our best and this is what we're aiming at tomorrow."

Second to Russia in Pool D were Korea and they will face Poland in their first match in the second round. "The first match is always tough," Korean coach Sam-Ryong Park said. "We haven't played against Poland recently, so we've been watching videos from the first round. We lost once in the first round and now want to focus on the latter stages of the tournament."

Poland coach Jerzy Matlak is looking for more from his team, who ended 3-2 in Tokyo. "I'm not totally satisfied with our performance in the first round, so I hope we can do much better in the second round and get to the final," he said. "We have not played against Korea in the last two years and only know them from team video briefings, so I really don't know how it will go."

Saturday's other match will see Serbia (4-1), runners-up in Pool A, face Turkey, who ended third in Pool D. "I am satisfied with the way we performed in the first round," Serbia coach Zoran Terzic said. "But it could have been better. We had our chances against Japan, but things could have been worse in our win over Poland.

"In the next round, we'll play four very good teams and it will be difficult to win, but we will take things step by step and try to play better and better. We know Turkey very well as we've played them many times. I hope it will be a good match and I expect Serbia to be able to win this game."

Turkey coach Mehmet Bedestenlioglu pointed out that, if nothing else, his team had proved their stamina in the first round. "We were on court longer than anyone else – 23 sets," he said. "We could do better, so I wasn't completely satisfied, but the second round will be more difficult and we have to think about each match step by step."


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