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Fascinating match up

Sendai, Japan, July 11, 2005 - Both teams have a similar record from the Preliminary Round, winning six matches and losing three, both reached the quarterfinals of the 2004 Olympics before losing and the last time these two played - in the round robin play of the Olympics - Italy won in straight sets 25-16 25-13 25-17.

The is match is going to be a classic. Obviously, the huge home crowd will have a significant bearing on Japan's fortunes but it will come down to a new look Italian line up against a small but determined Japanese side, who have looked the part in the Preliminary Round.

Italy, ranked fourth in the world, will be hoping to step up another gear from the Preliminary Round especially from their last match, when they beat China in straight sets.

Japan, ranked seventh, will have plenty of local support, it is just a matter if they can turn that into victory on the court.