Italy celebrates Valentina's day
Japan, July 16, 2005 - One phrase said it all. "Today is
my day," said Italy's Valentina Fiorin, who scored 23
points in her side's emphatic 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 32-30,
25-15) victory over Cuba to improve their win-loss
record to 3-0.
Later on the third day of the World Grand Prix Final
Round, Olympic champions China beat the Netherlands 3-1
(21-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-19), and defending champions
Brazil downed the hosts 3-1 (25-20, 25-27, 25-20,
This left Italy and Brazil both with a 3-0 win-loss
record, followed by Cuba, China and Japan all on 1-2,
and the Dutch at the bottom on 0-3.
In Sunday's action, Italy will play the Netherlands,
China meet Brazil and Cuba take on Japan in the evening
Pic: Fiorin (front left) takes part in the Italian
If both Italy and Brazil come through unscathed on
Sunday, they will face off for the title on Monday's
But Saturday belonged to the 20-year-old Fiorin, who
admitted: "We came here to try our best, but we never
thought about winning the first three matches.
"Fortunately we have many players who can score big
points, and today is my day.
"The coach told our setter (Eleonora Lo Bianco) to move
around and change the spiker to confuse the Cuban
blockers, and I think it worked."
In the second match of the day, Olympic champions China
finally came to life after two losses and condemned the
Netherlands to a third straight defeat.
In the last match of the day, Brazil beat Japan for the
second time in this year's World Grand Prix, this time
3-1 after a five-set epic in Tokyo in the preliminary
head coach, Jose Guimaraes, was far from satisfied after
the victory, though, saying: "I did not like this match
and my team did not play well.
"It is always difficult to play against Japan for us,
for our style and for our characteristics, especially
the relationship between blocking and defence."
Looking ahead to Brazil's Sunday date with China, the
coach said: "It will be difficult, because I do not know
the mood of the Chinese team at the moment.
"But all teams play well against us. I do not believe it,