Friday, 22 June 2018
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 Press Release
Russia's Kuzyutkin offers praise for Japan

Russia's top scorer Ekaterina Gamova said: "I'm very satisfied with today's victory, but a bit disappointed about the third set."

Russia coach Vladimir Kuzyutkin:
"We had to play well against Japan because they have so many good players. I want to congratulate Japan and as a fan of theirs, I'm very satisfied with today's victory. I'm very happy Japan are among the final four.
(On why his team aimed serves at Saori Kimura) "The combination of Saori and Takeshita is very strong and we wanted to break that. To do that, we felt we had to break Saori first.
(On whether Russia lost focus after the second set) "When we lose, there are many reasons. Mistakes always occur, but it was important to recover after the third set. We played our own game after the third set and I'm happy with that. Japan may have lost, but they did really well.
(On Russia's consistency) "There's no secret about being a stable team. We're just trying to win. Japan are as strong as us and the matches from now on will be more difficult.
(On the 159cm Takeshita blocking 192cm Shashkova) "Height doesn't matter; mistakes always occur."
(On whether Russia make a special effort on digging) "It's the same for all teams. The liberos train to defend, but it's nothing special. All our players have been selected for the national team, so of course they train hard."

Russia player Ekaterina Gamova:
"I'm very satisfied with today's victory but a bit disappointed about the third set. We could have done more in the third set. We did our best taking their receptions, but our attack was the key.
(On the difference between Russia and Japan) "I don't like judging other teams. The victory today tells its own story."

Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe:
"The angle of the Russian spikes was far greater than I had expected, so we adjusted our defence. Saori found it hard to focus against Gamova's serve.
(On Japan scoring nine block points to Russia's six) "The Russians aren't so quick, so it's not too hard to follow their combinations, but their height made blocking difficult. I'm happy with nine points.
(On lessons learned) "We just finished the game, so it's hard to say at the moment. We can adjust to their height, and watch their blocks and receptions, and we can adjust our system accordingly."
(On Saori Sakoda) "Her spikes from the back were good. When Saori was in front, we got a lot of spikes from Sakoda from the back, and that gave us good rhythm."
(On the semi v Brazil) "Russia, Brazil and USA are the three best teams in the world, but we have to focus on Brazil first. We've played them many times – their blocks and spikes are good but in the summer we beat them in five sets, so I want to focus on how we can get into our rhythm. The first set will be the key."

Japan player Saori Kimura:
"I've never played against such a tall team. I made some mistakes; my positioning was wrong."
(On defending against 202cm Gamova) "We changed our position and moved forward one or two steps, but the direction of the spikes was something we had never seen before. Also, everyone was told to set higher than usual."

Japan player Saori Sakoda:
"They were really tall. We needed to have better serving and our mood wasn't that good. I keep asking myself what I could have done to change things today, but I can't say that I did anything good today. I knew they would be tall, but even if I blocked they could spike above me. When I was blocking, I couldn't tell where the ball went; that's how tall they were."


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