Tokyo, 6th November 2007 – The FIVB Volleyball World Cup 2007 played its 4th day of competition, opening the venues in Osaka and Sendai. The same teams that played in Tokyo moved to Osaka, while the six squads performing in Hamamatsu were on Sendai’s court. At the end of the six matches, Brazil, Italy and U.S.A. are still leading the standings with four wins and no loss.
The European champions Italy had to work hard to beat regional rivals Serbia 3-2 in a rematch of their European Championship final on Tuesday. Italy won 23-25, 25-14, 16-25, 25-17, 15-7 to extend their World Cup win-loss record to 4-0, while dropping Serbia to 3-1. Italy had beaten Serbia 3-0 in the European Championship final on September 30 to win the Euro crown for the first time, but 2006 World Championship bronze medallists Serbia took them all the way this time in a fluctuating encounter. Italian Captain Eleonora Lo Bianco said that "we were not ourselves today. We made a lot of errors and took too much time to find our rhythm. The match was always close, neck and neck."
Korea ended a run of three straight defeats at the FIVB World Cup 2007 by beating wild card Dominican Republic 3-1 at Namihaya Dome. Korea won 26-24, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21 to improve their win-loss record to 1-3 after four of the 11 rounds, dropping the Dominicans to the same mark. Captain Sa-Nee Kim has no doubts: "I am so happy to get this first victory in the World Cup. We had more concentration about the game after losing the three games in Tokyo. We knew that this game and tomorrow’s game against Thailand are really important for me and all the players."
Asian champions Japan put Sunday's defeat by Serbia behind them by sweeping regional rivals Thailand 3-0. In the third match of the first day at Osaka, world No. 7 Japan had too much big-match experience for the world's 30th-ranked team and came home in style 25-19, 27-25, 25-14. The straight-sets victory (in front of 7,100 spectators) improved their win-loss record to 3-1 with seven matches to play, but Thailand dropped to 0-4 on their World Cup debut. "I was trying to give a better set" said Japan Captain Yoshie Takeshita "and use the centre players more effectively, and how to build the game around our formation. Araki did a very good job and scored some points, so that worked well. We will face Italy tomorrow, another strong team, so we have to do better defence and be prepared for that."
In Sendai, Kenya – U.S.A. was the first match of the day. Kenya's woes continued in the World Cup as they faced the unbeaten United States, who were in no mood to be merciful at Sendai City Gymnasium, crushing the African champions 25-9, 25-20, 25-10. Kenya Head Coach Sammy Kirongo has a positive attitude: "In a competition you are supposed to continue playing as required. For the team to play well we must do a lot of things. Today was an interesting match and we will continue playing and putting things right so I hope things will be OK like today and even more than today."
Cuba continued to go the long haul with a hard-fought 21-25, 26-24, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13 victory over Poland. After a long match, point to point, neither team would give ground as the tiebreak got under way, but Podolec came up with a good spike followed by an even better block on Ramirez for an 8-6 Poland lead. Barros planted a spike down the middle and Carcaces thumped an even bigger shot to pull Cuba level. With Poland leading 13-12, Cuba twice shut down Podolec to give them match point and Carrillo delivered the coup de grace with a punishing dipping serve that the Poles couldn't touch. The Cuban Coach Antonio Perdomo was not smiling at the end: "The Olympic qualification? It is still possible but it's a long competition and it's still possible to make the best three if we don't lose any more games. Regarding today's game, as we dropped two sets, obviously we didn't have the right rhythm today. I have to say I am not satisfied with the way we played, even though we won."
Brazil continued their unbeaten run with their fourth straight victory in the World Cup on Tuesday, a routine 25-17, 25-15, 25-17 win over Peru. Brazil player Jaqueline Carvalho: "I think overall today we played very well, although part of the way through the match we lost our way a bit, but in the end we came through with a good result. I hope we can continue and come up with a final result that we are happy with."
The 2nd Round matches will end tomorrow. The teams then will travel to reach the new venues for 3rd round in Sapporo and Kumamoto.
COMPETITION SCHEDULE (2ND ROUND)
City date Loc. time/GMT time
Osaka 07 Nov 12,35 3,35 Korea - Thailand
Osaka 07 Nov 15,05 6,05 Dominican Rep. - Serbia
Osaka 07 Nov 18,00 9,00 Japan - Italy
Sendai 07 Nov 12,35 3,35 Kenya - Poland
Sendai 07 Nov 15,05 6,05 Cuba - Peru
Sendai 07 Nov 18,05 9,05 Brazil – U.S.A.
STANDINGS AFTER 4th COMPETITION DAY
Brazil, Italy and U.S.A. 8; Japan and Serbia 7; Cuba 6; Poland, Korea, Dominican Republic and Peru 5; Thailand and Kenya 4 (2 points for victory, 1 for loss)
"FOLLOW ME" BY ANDREA ZORZI: THE DOMINICAN WAY
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. New articles have been uploaded, explaining technical topics and big stories of the event. The last video appearing on the gallery is with Dominican Republic Head Coach Beato Miguel Cruz. Next video posted by the two time former World Champion will be with Jelena Nikolic, Serbian spiker.