Italy and Brazil move ahead of the pack
Japan, July 14, 2005 – World champions Italy and
defending champions Brazil maintained their perfect
records on the second day of the World Grand Prix Final
Round in Sendai, Japan on Thursday.
The Azzurre proved too strong for Olympic champions
China for the second time in five days with a
straight-sets win (25-16, 25-21, 25-22), while Brazil
held off Cuba 3-2 (25-16, 21-25, 22-25, 25-21, 16-14) in
a fast-paced, power-packed spike fest that delighted the
Pic: Brazil's Renata Colombo spikes past the Cuban
defence of Nancy Carrillo de la Paz (left) and Rosir
Italy sit ahead of Brazil on points ratio, with Cuba and
Japan both holding 1-1 win-loss records and China and
the Netherlands winless at 0-2.
Friday is a rest day, giving teams the chance to iron
out their faults before the final three days of action
from Saturday through Monday to determine the champions.
Brazil look a good bet to retain their World Grand Prix
title, and coach Jose Guimaraes admitted his team's
thrilling win over Cuba was an important step in the
process of attempting to win their fifth World Grand
"This victory is very important for the rest of the
tournament,” Guimaraes said. “Cuba is a very difficult
team to play against as they have two setters, so it is
hard to read their tactics. But we concentrated all the
way, chased every ball and ran hard. Doing the basics
right got us through."
Next up for Brazil, on Saturday night prime-time, will
be the hosts Japan, who regained their pride after being
battered by Italy on the opening night.
Japan recovered from losing the first set against the
Netherlands to beat the Dutch 3-1 (22-25, 25-20, 28-26,
25-22) in a vastly-improved performance.
It will certainly have whetted the appetite of the fans
ahead of Saturday's clash with Brazil.
Saturday's action starts with Italy against Cuba, a
match the Cubans will feel they must win, and continues
with the Netherlands and China, where one of the teams
will record their first victory.