2005 FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX

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China and Cuba seal Final Round spots

Lausanne, Switzerland, July 8, 2005 – China and Cuba, the Olympic gold and bronze medalists respectively, are the first two sides to confirm their spots alongside hosts Japan in the Final Round of the 2005 World Grand Prix after winning their seventh straight matches on the opening day of Week Three of the Preliminary Round on Friday.

China beat the Dominican Republic in straight sets 25-20, 27-25, 25-19 in Hong Kong while in Taipei, Cuba cruised to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-18) win over Korea.
Pic: Cuba fans applaud their heros
The victories leave China and Cuba as the only two unbeaten sides in the competition while Brazil, who beat the Netherlands, sit in third spot with a 6-1 win-loss record needing just one more win to join them in the next phase.

Italy, the Netherlands, USA (all 4-3), Poland (3-4) and even Korea (2-5) are all still in with a chance to claim a Final Round spot with two matches to play.

In Bangkok, USA and Poland kept their Final Round hopes alive with victories over Thailand and Japan respectively. USA recorded their fourth win from seven matches when they beat Thailand 3-1 (25-14, 25-20, 13-25, 25-22) while Poland beat Japan 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-22).

In Taipei, following Cuba’s comfortable victory Korea, world number two Brazil held off a brave effort from the Netherlands before securing a 3-1 (25-27, 25-19, 25-21, 25-17) victory.

The final venue in Hong Kong saw a brilliant 22-point haul from Nadia Centoni lead Italy to their fourth win when they beat Germany 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 26-24) in the opening match. Birgit Thumm was the leading scorer for Germany, who now have a 1-6 record, with 13 points. The second match saw China hand the Dominican Republic their seventh straight defeat of the competition.

Current standings after seven matches: 1) China 2) Cuba 3) Brazil 4) Japan 5) Italy 6) Netherlands 7) USA 8) Poland 9) Korea 10) Germany 11) Dominican Republic 12) Thailand