Nagoya, Japan, November 15, 2007: Brazil produced an outstanding performance to demolish Serbia 3-0 in the first match of the day at Nippon Gaishi Hall on Thursday.
Clearly motivated by their heavy loss to Italy the previous day, the South American champions sent shell-shocked Serbia spinning to a straight-sets defeat, 25-13, 25-14, 25-21.
With the win, 2006 World Championship silver medallists Brazil improved their World Cup record to 8-2. The Serbs, who won bronze at the 2006 Worlds in Osaka, dropped to 7-3.
Serbia's last match is against four-time World Cup winners and reigning NORCECA champions Cuba on Friday afternoon. Brazil will play Asian champions Japan in the last match of the competition on Friday evening.
Brakocevic set the tone for the match with a thundering jump serve ace on the very first point.
At the net, Walewska, sporting a striking orange headband to top off the dark blue strip, and Fabiana collected a series of points to drive their team forward to the first TTO, 8-6 ahead. When Brazil greeted Serbia's attack with some crunching blocks on the restart, this lead grew to 12-7.
The Serbs were struggling to match the pace and intensity of the Brazilians, who were determined to make amends for their straight-sets capitulation against Italy on Wednesday.
Down 15-8, Molnar gave way to Vesovic as the Serbs tried to get a foothold in the match, but at 16-9 at the second TTO, Brazil were in control.
Even though libero Cebic pulled off some stunning digs, notably against Paula, the Brazilians attacked in waves that quickly wore down the Serb defence.
The Serbs seemed overawed, and poor serve reception did not help their cause as Brazil marched ahead 19-10. Even the talisman Nikolic spiked wide up the left under heavy pressure, and the normally reliable Molnar blazed long from a back-court attack.
Paula rose on the left and pounded a ferocious cross-court winner for 22-11, and then beat a desperate Molnar on the base line after some brilliant Brazilian digging and defence had rejected Nikolic. Brazil had set point at 24-12, and Jaqueline thrashed another unstoppable winner from the left to end it 25-13, her spike followed by her trademark war cry.
The Brazilians were flying, and maintained this into the second set. Further spectacular back-court defence from Jaqueline enabled Fabiana to smash a mighty winner at the net, and Serbia needed a TO to catch their breath, trailing 4-1.
On the restart, Veljkovic blocked Walewska when they went head to head at the net, and Brakocevic battered her way through the block and ground defence on a rapid overhead set of Ognjenovic, lifting Serb spirits. At the first TTO, Brazil held a two-point lead, 8-6.
Play resumed with a fast, curving serve ace from Sheilla, and a Walewska block on Brakocevic. A frustrated coach Terzic took his team off, down 10-6 and in big trouble already in this second set.
Walewska was in top form this day, and when she was on the bench Fabiana did the same. The Brazilians' digging, too, was at a consistently high level, as was the speed in which the team regrouped to be in position to accept Fofao's calm setting.
Leading 16-10 at the second TTO, Paula punched one home on the left past a scrambling Serb defence and Fabiana scored easily at the net to extend their advantage.
A serve by Ognjenovic brought an ace in a rare moment of indecision on the Brazilian side, but Paula quickly corrected the mistake by adding a searing spike from the left. Brazil were in awesome form, demolishing the Serb defences with their speed, precision and power, and draining the confidence out of the Serb attack with their blocking, ground defence and organisation. The second set was over quickly, 25-14.
Serbia needed to lift their game and their self-belief to prevent a whitewash in the third set. They also needed more points all around, as Nikolic and Brakocevic had contributed 13 of the 19 points won so far.
When Brakocevic forced one through the block on the right, Serbia drew level at 8-8, but both Fofao and Jaqueline denied her shortly after with their acrobatic digging. Sheilla added another point close in after a block on Nikolic, and Serbia needed a TO at 11-8.
On the restart, Walewska blasted past Brakocevic's block on the Brazilian right, and Sheilla almost dented the court wiht a soaring back-court attack for 15-13. Jaqueline brought up the second TTO on the next point, pounding through an exhausted Serb defence.
There was simply no respite for Serbia, who had come into this match still with a chance of a podium finish but brushed aside by a ruthless display of aggressive, high-speed Brazilian volleyball.
Ognjenovic was on her knees when Jaqueline smashed one past her on the left, and Terzic had no option but to call a TO to try and lift his players, who trailed 18-13.
A Molnar spike on the left was greeted by a broad Nikolic smile. The Serbs knew this was Brazil's day, so maybe a more relaxed approach might change the flow of the game and enable the European vice champions to collect a few more points. Brakocevic responded in style with some majestic points on the right.
Suddenly the gap was down to three at 21-18 Brazil, and the voice of coach Ze Roberto could be heard above the noise of the spectators and players. He demanded a quick end, and Walewska and Sheilla took them to match point at 24-20. Jaqueline won it 25-21 and the Brazilians danced in delight.