Italy beat Japan 3-0 (25-11, 26-24, 25-21) - duration 1:07
30-Aug, start time: 12:03, end time: 13:10 - Attendance: 3,900 Italy flies over Japan in opening match
Italy won the opening match of the 2002 Women's World Volleyball Championship, defeating Japan in straight sets. It took the Italians just more than one hour to fly over Japan in front of almost 4,000 spectators in the Halle Muensterland in Muenster. After being a bit nervous at the start of the match, the "Squadra Azzurra" showed that the Italian team wants to make good results during this 24 teams event. The Japanese players didn't find a concept against Italy's fast and varied attacks and strong blocks. Italy, coaches by Marco Bonitta, continued to play consistently and won the first set easily (25-11). In the second set, Japan started to play better. While the Asian team adjusted their game to the Italian attacks, Italy didn't dominate the match as clearly as in the first set anymore. The Japanese fought for each point. After exciting rallies Italy won the set 26-24 after missing the first two set points. In the third set, Japan showed that this team should not be underestimated. After the third set started equally, the experienced Italians extended their lead to 18-13. In spite of closing the gap at one point, the fighting Japanese went down 25-21 in the third set. Francesca Piccinini was the best scorer of the match with 16 points. Two other Italians scored more than ten points: Opposite attacker Elisa Togut (11) and Simona Rinieri (10). On the Japanese side, Sachiko Sugiyama was with 11 points the main scorer. Winner Italy will face Mexico on Saturday in the preliminary pool A, while Japan will meet host Germany.