FIVB - Women's Volleyball World Cup 2011

Press release

Germany on a high going into the third round in Okayama


The coaches of Algeria, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Germany, Kenya and USA pose with the FIVB's Aleksandar Boricic at Thursday's press conference in Okayama

Okayama, Japan, November 10, 2011 – The B site of the 2011 FIVB World Cup moved to Okayama in western Japan on Thursday with a different mix of teams playing nine matches over the following three days in the third round of the competition.

The United States, Germany and Kenya have moved from the Toyama B site and are joined by Algeria, Argentina and the Dominican Republic. The first-day matches at Momotaro Arena will see the Dominican Republic play Kenya, Algeria against Germany and USA against Argentina.

After five matches, USA are the top team in the Okayama group with 12 points from a 4-1 win-loss record, followed closely by Germany with 11 points from a similar record. They are currently second and third, respectively, in the overall standings behind unbeaten Italy, who have 14 points. Argentina are eighth with a 2-3 record while the Dominican Republic, Kenya and Algeria fill the bottom three places in the standings. 

USA were leading the standings after four matches when they came up against a confident German team, whose only loss in the tournament so far was 3-1 to Brazil in the first round. Germany’s Italian coach Giovanni Guidetti is happy with his team’s progress but said that it was too soon to be thinking about winning a medal and one of the precious Olympic slots available.

“Up to now, I have been very happy about the performance of my team,” he told the media in Okayama. “We’ve played good volleyball with good spirit and motivation and also the physical condition of my players is now good, so I am very satisfied about what we’ve done until now. But at the same time, we still have six matches to play, so everything is open. 

“My thinking about the World Cup was that it was very exciting because it’s the first time to play in this competition. We came here to play good and to try and compete for the top three places, but we know it’s very, very complicated. We finished the first two rounds with four victories, which was more than we expected. But we know that every match from now to the end is very difficult and there are many other teams that want those three places.”

USA coach Hugh McCutcheon was characteristically low-key as he looked toward the third round: “The USA team is very happy to be 4-1 coming out of the first two rounds. I think our team overall is playing at a good level but I hope that our best volleyball is yet to come. 

“While our team still hopes to qualify (for the Olympics) and still mathematically has the possibility to qualify, our focus is on the next match. We’ll take this one step at a time. There are many things that are still left undone at this tournament. It’s the halfway stage and there’s a lot of good volleyball left.” 

On the final day in Okayama, either Kenya or Algeria will pick up their first win of the tournament when they play in Sunday’s second match. Kenya coach Paul Bitok says his team is still aiming for victories: “We have tried our best in the first and second rounds to improve and learn from the high-ranked teams we played. I think we have learned a lot from them and we gave them a good challenge. I think it’s the first time that we have shown the good teams that we can challenge them. We are playing good and now we also want to win, so we will try our best to see if we can win some matches in this round.”

Meanwhile, Algeria coach Ahmed Boukacem recognizes that the tournament is a learning experience for his team: “So far, our results have not really been satisfactory, so we would like to keep playing better in each game. It’s a learning process for us.” 

Argentina coach Horacio Bastit believes the tournament has been a positive one so far for his team: “In terms of numbers the balance of our results is good enough, so far. Our intention was to win two or three matches and we won two matches in the first round, but winning two matches does not necessarily reflect the matches themselves because some aspects of our play have been good, while some have been a bit negative. But in general the balance is a positive one.”

Dominican Republic coach Marcos Kwiek, on the other hand, has mixed feelings about his team’s progress: “Regarding the tournament so far, if we go by the stats, we are going backwards, but from the first match to the most recent one the team has improved its level. The team must also improve in this phase where the teams that will be fighting for the medals will be decided. The expectation of our team is to improve our level and collect more points.” 
 
Friday’s matchups:
Dominican Republic v Kenya
Both teams are coming off losses in straight sets in their previous outings, with the Dominicans going down against Japan and the Kenyans beaten by the Korean side. The NORCECA vice champions, who have won the two matches they have played against Kenya, must overcome the reception problems that allowed Japan to come from behind. Kenya battled Korea for one opening set before being trounced in the next two. Dominican Bethania de la Cruz leads all scorers in the competition with 79 points but was held off at the 15-point mark by the hosts’ defense. It has been a learning experience for Kenya thus far but against Dominican Republic they have a fair chance to make things happen.
 
Dominican Republic coach Marcos Kwiek: “Tomorrow’s match pits two teams together that are here to gain experience, even though the Dominican Republic has more experience than Kenya. Essentially, both have the same goals: To get experience and to collect as many points as possible. 

Kenya coach Paul Bitok: “The Dominican Republic have shown that they are one of the best because they have won.”

Algeria v Germany
This is the first ever match between Algeria and Germany in an FIVB competition. The surprising victory over United States in three sets last Wednesday has made Germany one of the teams to beat in the competition. Veteran Angelina Grun has been a tremendous addition to the German side. As the glue that holds together the European vice champions, Grun has scored 43 points in the last two wins and with 76 overall she ranks third among the top points producers. The team of Algeria, still looking to get its first point in the event, has been limited to 237 points in 16 sets for an average of 14.8 so the African vice champions do not present a very big hurdle for their stronger opponents.

Algeria coach Ahmed Boukacem: “I’m sure Germany is a high-level team. We’d like to do our best tomorrow and through our experience from each game, we want to leave a good image of our team.”  

Germany coach Giovanni Guidetti: “My team has never played against Algeria so we don’t know our opponents very well. We will study the match like we usually do and make the same preparation like we do for everything and we hope we can maintain our good performance tomorrow.”
 
Argentina v United States
The United States were stunned in straight sets by Germany in what can be described as the biggest surprise of the tournament so far, while Argentina was victim of the best China performance in five outings. The South American side lost to the Asian champions in 63 minutes while the Americans battled the Germans for 92 minutes for the same result: nothing. It could have been a valuable lesson for the USA that there’s no such thing as a lesser opponent and you can be sure they will be firing on all cylinders against the Argentineans. USA hold a 4-0 advantage in FIVB competitions but these two countries also play every year at the Pan American Cup and know each other very well.

USA coach Hugh McCutcheon: “We know them from competing in the Pan-American Cup. A physical team, a good team and we’re excited to go and compete and play the best we can and see what happens.”

Argentina coach Horacio Bastit: “I can say that in this tournament there are five or six teams that are vying for the three top positions and USA is one of them. USA are at another level, so it’s going to be a very tough match for Argentina tomorrow.”


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