2005 FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX

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World Grand Prix opens amongst magnificent scenes as favourites get to work early

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 24, 2005 – Women’s Volleyball fans witnessed a superb illustration of skill, grace and precision on the opening day of the 2005 World Grand Prix on Friday; which was highlighted with victories to defending champions Brazil along with Japan, the Netherlands, China, Cuba and Italy.

World number two Brazil opened proceedings with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-14) win over world number eight Korea. After a sluggish opening, the Brazilians eventually put together a series of dazzling attacking combinations to win in straight sets.

"It certainly felt like we were playing against the No. 1 team in the world,” Korea coach Hyung-Sil Kim said. “We did not have enough time to prepare fully and it showed.”
Pic: New USA coach Lang Ping had an unsuccessful World Grand Prix debut against the Netherlands
In the second match in Tokyo, a new-look Japanese team delighted a massive home crowd by overwhelming Poland 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-17). Japan overcame their height disadvantage with their movement, speed and agility, as four players recorded double-digit point hauls.

Meanwhile, world number 14 the Netherlands celebrated their return to the World Grand Prix in style with a tremendous 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-17) victory over world number three USA, handing the new American coach Lang Ping an unhappy debut in Ningbo, China while Olympic and World Cup double champions China looked ominous in their 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-18) sweep of Thailand.

The final matches on the opening day saw last year's runner's up Italy take only 58 minutes to beat the the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-10) in Reggio Calabria while Olympic bronze medallists Cuba showed unbelievable determination to hold off Germany 3-0 (29-27, 27-25, 27-25).