Tokyo, Japan, December 2, 2007: Comments from the Brazil head coach and captain in the mixed zone after the match against Japan on Sunday, and from the Japan team press conference.
Head Coach Bernardo Rezende: It was a tough match after a tough match yesterday against Russia, which was like a final. We suffered from the beginning and lacked a bit of energy and focus. Japan played loose and calm with no responsibility, but we managed to fight to the end and win under this pressure. At the start of the fourth set Japan lost seven points due to the referee’s mistake. We have two World Championships, two World Cups and our aim is to end this cycle with two Olympic gold medals. Now we are at the end of the seventh year with this team, and one more year to go. This is a great conclusion to the seventh year. We have to party for one night and from tomorrow think about Beijing and improve what we are lacking.
Captain Giba: It was a good game for us, but we were a bit nervous at the start. We had two objectives – the first was to qualify for the Olympics; the second to win the World Cup. After the first set we concentrated better and got into the match, point after point, and the most important thing is to win the game. We were expecting the game would be very hard because Japan has a strong defence and they have three strong servers. We knew this because we have trained with the Japan team at the Olympic centre (JISS) and seen their matches on video. Now we have three weeks off and the players will go to their championships in Russia, Italy and Brazil. Next year Brazil will host the World League final round, so that makes our schedule easier. As for my future, I am thinking of winning the Russian championship and then playing at the Olympics. I am not thinking beyond that.
Head Coach Tatsuya Ueta: We won the first set but in the second and third sets we suffered and lost our good rhythm. In the fourth set we made a basic mistake and it was very unfortunate. When the mistake was revealed and the score was revoked to zero (from 7-2 Japan) I encouraged the players to start fighting again with a renewed mindset. At the end of the match all of the players performed very well and showed what they could do best. I am happy with that and I want to commend my players.
Captain Masaji Ogino: Today we started the game really well and we showed the world champion how Japan can play. Young players like Shimizu can gain a lot of experience from this World Cup. Overall we could win only three games, so that means we still have a lot to learn. Now the players will go back to their own teams and they can use what they learned from this experience.
Yu Koshikawa: It is a fact that we have the strength to win the first set against the world No. 1 Brazil. On the other hand it is also a fact that we have a weakness after the second set, because Brazil today and Bulgaria yesterday adjusted to our game and we could not perform as well. We won three games and this reflects the true strength of the Japanese team right now. We will go back to our own teams and must play the V.League with the aim of putting into practice what we have learned here. When we gather again as a national team in May we have to raise our level up and this will lead to a good result at the final qualification tournament for the Olympic Games. Personally this tournament was very meaningful and had a big influence because I can find many things that I must do in the future.
Yusuke “Gottsu” Ishijima: I lacked the capacity to win the second and the third sets, and I regret this. I will leave the national team now but day by day I will practice more and more and the next chance to challenge against the world as a team I want to start from the line we made this time. Our goal always is to reach the Olympics.
Takahiro Yamamoto: I could not continue to control the game even after winning the first set. Personally I am not satisfied with my own performance throughout this World Cup and I could not contribute to the team especially in the first half of the tournament. I want to be well prepared so that I will be in better shape for the next matches in the OQT next May.