Tokyo, Japan, December 1, 2007: Comments from the official FIVB press conference after the Japan-Bulgaria game on Saturday night.
Head Coach Martin Stoev: We knew it would be a difficult match. First of all Japan is playing at their home with 10,000 supporters in the hall, and also we saw in our team that a few players are tired because they are near the end of this marathon tournament. It was important that we found our concentration and took another step forward to the Olympics at Beijing next year.
Captain Plamen Konstantinov: I think first of all victory is the most important thing, so I am happy with the result. We knew it was going to be a difficult match, but after the game with Russia we prepared well for this match. With two games left, we knew we had to work hard or it could be dangerous for us.
Hristo Tsvetanov: It was a difficult game for us, and unfortunately we could not play how we wanted at the beginning, so we are happy to get out of a difficult situation. Now we are thinking of the match with Argentina tomorrow. It is our last and most important game.
Head Coach Tatsuya Ueta: Bulgaria ’s serve ranking is second in the World Cup, especially Kaziyski makes a very strong serve, so our tactics would be to make good reception. Before the game we decided the reception positions and where Usami should set up, and that worked well so we could win the first set. From the second set our attacks did not work because of their high block. The players corrected the issue every time, so I am satisfied with that point. We learned through this World Cup the interaction between block and defence. There may have been a big difference in points, but we feel we could play a close game.
Captain Masaji Ogino: In the first set we played very well, but from the second set we could receive okay but made too many mistakes in connecting to the setter. This meant he could not give a good toss to the spikers. That was the main factor for our defeat.
Yu Koshikawa: In the first set we could play our own style of volleyball thanks to Yamamoto’s blocks, but from the second set the Bulgarian team changed the way they played and we could not cope with this. It is important to play our own style. We could not win points at the critical moment. That is the reason for our defeat.
Daisuke Usami: From the second set I could not provide a good toss because we could not control our serve reception. I want to improve for tomorrow. The Bulgarian team served very well, so we could not use our speedy combinations.
Yusuke Ishijima: In the first set we could play the game in our style because of Yamamoto’s blocks, but from the second set our reception suffered due to Bulgaria ’s strong serves. Tomorrow we must lead the game to be able to play our style of volleyball.