Tokyo, 2nd November 2007 – The FIVB Volleyball World Cup 2007 started today in Tokyo and Hamamatsu. The official presentation was staged in Tokyo just before the match Japan – Dominican Republic. The President of the FIVB, Dr. Rubén Acosta, sat beside His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito, the guest of honour at the opening ceremony.
Serbia held off a feisty Korea to begin their World Cup campaign with a 3-0 victory in Pool A at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Friday afternoon. The Serbs, who won the bronze medal at the 2006 World Championship in Japan, came home 25-21, 25-23, 25-15. “We won this game because we were more concentrated at the critical moments. We did not play so good today, but it was enough to win” said top Serbian spiker Jelena Nikolic.
European champions Italy began their bid for a first World Cup title by crushing Asian minnows Thailand 3-0 in the second match. Playing against the 30th-ranked Thais, world No. 4 Italy romped home 25-14, 25-14, 25-16. Thailand Captain Wilavan Apinyapong: “We tried to play our best in this game but our performance was lower than normal because our reception was a problem, so the combination attack did not work well.”
Asian champions Japan delighted a packed house on the opening night of the FIVB World Cup 2007 by beating wild card Dominican Republic 3-0 on Friday. Japan were desperate to avoid a repeat of their shock opening night loss to Chinese Taipei in the World Championship last year Despite struggling in the early stages, Japan's superior team work and slicker combinations paved the way for a comfortable 25-23, 25-18, 25-20 victory. Head Coach Shoichi Yanagimoto said “Although we were in good condition until this morning, we did not play well and were too nervous. It was great that we could win this match, but we felt much pressure.”
In Hamamatsu, Cuba had little difficulty in racking up a win in their first match of the 2007 World Cup, overcoming the gallant Kenyans 25-11, 25-18, 25-20. Cuba seemed slow getting any rhythm, as their coach had warned they might due to their lengthy journey to Japan. “As a result, the first set was difficult but after that we knew we were better than them and we used some of our reserve members, who did very well.”
The United States showed characteristic power as they moved past a game Peruvian team 25-23, 25-14, 25-19 in their opening game of the 2007 World Cup. Enio de Figueiro, Peru Coach: “We don't have our regular setters, so we are playing with a 17-year-old. Under this situation, you can imagine how difficult it is for us to compete. Today, the players were nervous and couldn't play as usual.”
Brazil showed off their awesome power in their opening match of the World Cup but had to push themselves before overcoming Poland 25-12, 25-20, 25-22 in a match that had four female line judges for the first time in a World Cup game. Brazil looked impressive from the start, with Fabiana Claudino, Jaqueline Carvalho and Paula Pequeno getting in some meaty spikes. During the game, first referee Kim Kun-Tae had to be replaced by the second referee because he was feeling unwell.
The 1st Round matches will continue tomorrow: second day of the World Cup will be staged again in Tokyo and Hamamatsu.
MATCH DESCRIPTIONS, PRESS CONFERENCES, FREE PICTURES
As usual, the FIVB will provide complete real time coverage of the event. Match descriptions, press conference reports and free pictures downloadable in high resolution for Media purpose are available from the home page of the FIVB website (www.fivb.org).
“FOLLOW ME” BY ANDREA ZORZI. VIDEO INTERVIEWS WITH THE WORLD CUP STARS ON THE FIVB WEBSITE
Andrea Zorzi, the former Italian national Volleyball player and two times World Champion, is working on his special blog “Follow Me” from the FIVB website home page. As during the last World League and World Grand Prix, Zorzi will produce articles and video interviews in Japan with the Head Coaches and top players, revealing the secrets of the game and players’ life, raising the curtain on the backstage of the FIVB event.
First video on line is showing the three Head Coaches Zoran Terzic (Serbia), Shoichi Yanagimoto (Japan) and Massimo Barbolini (Italy).