Tokyo, 14th November 2007 – An amazing day at the FIVB Women’s World Cup started the Nagoya session, a double venue setting for the ninth day of the FIVB event. Italy beat Brazil in an outstanding match to lead the standings, then Serbia smashed U.S.A. and the evening came with a last match won by Cuba against Japan in front of 8,000 spectators. The three Olympic berths are still pending, and Nagoya is still promising fantastic battles for the podium.
European champions Italy swept South American champions Brazil 3-0 when the World Cup resumed on Wednesday at Nippon Gaishi Hall. Thanks to their 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 victory, the “Azzurre” improved their win-loss record to 9-0 and took a massive step towards Beijing. Brazil dropped to 7-2, having lost 3-2 to USA earlier in the competition. Italy's last two matches are against Cuba on Thursday and the United States on Friday, while Brazil will meet Serbia on Thursday and Japan in the last match of the competition on Friday evening. The Head Coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes took all the team to the press conference, not only the team captain as usual: “It is very difficult for me to say anything after such a bad match. I feel ashamed. I have never seen such bad play as today. It is true that Italy played very well, but our performance was so bad. I want to apologise to the people who watched this game. Why I brought all my players into the press conference? It is better for the press to ask them. They are here to answer this question. Italy? Aguero is the big difference. They are a different team with her.”
Serbia returned to winning ways with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over the previously undefeated United States. In the second match of the day, the 2006 World Championship bronze medallists beat the Americans 28-26, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23 to improve their World Cup win-loss record to 7-2. USA arrived in Nagoya at 8-0 but are now 8-1 with two matches remaining. The United States will play Japan on Thursday and Italy on Friday, while Serbia take on Brazil on Thursday and finish with Cuba. Captain Vesna Citakovic: “It was a very big game for us and both teams were fighting until the end. I think the supporters enjoyed this Volleyball and today we played a little bit better than the America team. We tried to play aggressively in serve, block and defence, and I think we deserved this victory.”
Cuba fought back from one set down to beat Japan 3-1. The four-time World Cup winners won 22-25, 31-29, 25-23, 25-20 to improve their World Cup record to 7-2 and stay in the hunt for a top-three finish with two matches to go. Japan, the Asian champions, dropped to 6-3 in the face of a ferocious Cuban onslaught, especially a well-drilled, crunching block. Japan will finish their campaign with games against USA on Thursday and Brazil on Friday, while Cuba will meet Italy on Thursday and Serbia on Friday. “We had a really tough three sets” said Head Coach Antonio Perdomo. “In the second set our service was so effective as to stop the Japanese combination attacks. In the first set my impression was that the Japanese service was good, and I could tolerate our errors in service as long as we could handle the difficult service of Japan.”
Thailand won the battle of the World Cup's two winless teams with a hard-fought victory over Kenya in Komaki Park Arena on Wednesday. The Thais triumphed 25-15, 23-25, 22-25, 25-13, 15-10. This match was a huge match for both teams as both were winless coming into the game and there was a chance that the loser would go home without a victory. Thailand had the better record, having won five sets to Kenya's zero. Kenya's longest match before this one was an hour and six minutes and their shortest was just 52 minutes, while Thailand had pushed the Dominican Republic to an hour and 54 minutes and even stretched Cuba to an hour and 36 minutes. Their shortest game, like Kenya's, was against Italy, with the Thais managing to last just two minutes more at 52 minutes. Kenya Captain Catherine Wanjiru at the end was happy: “That’s because the team managed to win two sets. Since the start of the tournament we hadn't won any sets, so we tried.”
Poland eased past the Dominican Republic with a comfortable 25-14, 25-14, 25-18 victory. Poland were hoping to improve their record of just three wins in eight matches, while the Dominican Republic were looking for their second win. The match went very much according to the form book, with Poland encountering only sporadic resistance against the inconsistent Dominicans. Katarzyna Skowronska-Dolata led the Poles with an impressive 17 points, while Bethania De La Cruz had 12 points for the Dominicans. “Nothing has changed despite the change of coach” Mauro Masacci told the press, being promoted after Head Coach Bonitta had to leave the tournament. “Against Japan we had a good game, while against Serbia I think we had good luck. This is the team that the former coach made and we'd like to stay in good condition and play well.”
After losing their last three matches to three strong teams (Brazil, Cuba, the United States), South Korea got back on the winning track in the World Cup to overcome Peru 25-17, 26-24, 25-20. The Koreans now have three wins against six losses, while Peru fell to 1-8. Seventeen-year-old Bae Yoo Na was the top scorer for South Korea with 12 points, while Kim Yeon Koung and Han Yoo Mi both had 11. Milagros Moy scored 12 points for Peru and captain Leyla Chihuan added 11. Despite the victory, Korea Coach Lee Jung Chul stressed his team’s problems: “We did not have high enough concentration. Our team does well when we can serve, receive and do our set plays properly, but today we didn't have enough concentration and it really didn't go so well. We want to practice our set plays more.”
The 4th Round of the Women’s World Cup 2007 will continue tomorrow in Nagoya, in Nippon Gaishi Hall (Venue A) and Park Arena Komaki (Venue B). The event will end on the 16th with the last match: the first three teams in the ranking will go to Beijing.
COMPETITION SCHEDULE (4TH ROUND)
City date Loc. time GMT time
Nagoya (A) 15 Nov 12,35 03,35 Brazil - Serbia
Nagoya (A) 15 Nov 15,05 06,05 Cuba - Italy
Nagoya (A) 15 Nov 18,00 09,00 Japan – U.S.A.
Nagoya (B) 15 Nov 12,35 03,35 Dominican Rep. - Kenya
Nagoya (B) 15 Nov 15,05 06,05 Peru - Thailand
Nagoya (B) 15 Nov 18,05 09,05 Korea - Poland
Nagoya (A) 16 Nov 12,35 03,35 Cuba - Serbia
Nagoya (A) 16 Nov 15,05 06,05 Italy – U.S.A.
Nagoya (A) 16 Nov 18,00 09,00 Japan – Brazil
Nagoya (B) 16 Nov 12,05 03,05 Dominican Rep. - Peru
Nagoya (B) 16 Nov 14,35 05,35 Poland - Thailand
Nagoya (B) 16 Nov 17,05 08,05 Kenya - Korea
STANDINGS AFTER THE 1st DAY, 4th ROUND
Italy 18; U.S.A. 17; Brazil, Serbia and Cuba 16; Japan 15; Poland 13; Korea 12; Thailand, Dominican Republic and Peru 10; Kenya 9 (2 points for victory, 1 for loss).
MATCH DESCRIPTIONS, PRESS CONFERENCES, FREE PICTURES
The FIVB provides 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
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 interview published on “Follow Me” is with Leyla Chihuan, Peruvian team captain.