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FIVB World Grand Prix 2006
Match Description
Brazil recover to charge past Japan

Sheilla spikes against the Japanese defence

 Reggio Calabria, Italy, September 8, 2006: Brazil beat Japan 3-1 to top Pool B and march into the semi-finals with a perfect 11-0 win-loss record for the tournament on Friday afternoon.
 Brazil, the five-time Grand Prix champions and bidding for a straight hat-trick of titles this year, recovered from losing the first set to win through 23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-17.
 Having lost 3-0 to Russia the previous day, Japan finished third in the pool and dropped into the play-off for fifth place on Saturday.
 Thanks to some confidence-boosting early scores from China-born Shuka Oyama, Japan set the pace in the first set.
 On the other hand, Brazil's Jaqueline Carvalho was struggling to find her usual precision.
 At the net, Erika Araki and Fabiana were having another enthralling duel.
 In the middle of the set, Fabiana showed her quality with a block on Saori Kimura and then two running spikes into space which split the Japan defence.
 Setter Yoshie Takeshita, at 1.59 metres, gave Japan fresh impetus at 13-13, finding a gap between the block of Walewska Oliveira and Carvalho, and Shuka Oyama and an inspired Miyuki Takahashi both followed up with crashing winners down the middle to give Japan a three-point lead at the second technical break, 16-13.
 Japan's defence was excellent on this day, especially Takahashi, and, trailing 17-15, Brazil made a couple of changes to try and find more attacking rhythm.
 Japan led 21-18 but were hauled back in by Fabiana, Castro and Fabiana again, before Araki and Shuka Oyama brought the set within grasp at 23-21, forcing a Brazil TO. Yuki Ishikawa brought up three set points at 24-21 after a marvellous dig from Takahashi; Brazil saved two of them, only for Welissa "Sassa" Gonzaga to serve long and hand Japan the opening frame 25-23.
 Carvalho picked up the pace for Brazil in the second set, both on attack and defence, and a block on Ishikawa gave Brazil a five-point cushion at the second TTO, 16-11. The block point ended another wonderful rally, featuring more agile defence from Takahashi, and the neutral crowd warmed to the excitement and entertainment.
 Brazil have more than Fabiana when it comes to expert net play, and Walewska maintained her impressive Grand Prix form with some crucal points at crucial times. It was Carvalho, though, who brought up four set points at 24-20 with a blistering winner from the left, and a persistent Castro finally found a way past libero Kaoru Sugayama to end the set 25-22 and make it 1-1.
 Japan were starting to look tired in the third set. Sugayama misread a serve from Carvalho, and Sassa battered away at the block, enabling Brazil to lead 10-5 and prompting a Japan TO. When Castro struck shortly after the resumption, making it 13-6, Japan left the court again, but Brazil were now in their stride.
 From 16-6 at the second technical break, there was no way back for Japan. A Sassa sizzler down the middle after a Fabiana dummy moved Brazil closer, but they still gave up too many soft points before Fabiana ended it 25-16.
 In the fourth set, Brazil kept the Japanese defence moving with some delicate winners into the front of the court, notably from Castro and Fabiana, and Japan replied with more clever play from Araki and some thundering spikes from Shuka Oyama.
 Japan called a TO trailing 10-7, and a block on Shuka Oyama took Brazil to the second TTO with a comfortable lead, 16-11. Kimura finished off a lengthy rally with a flashing cross-court drive from the left to show that Japan were not ready to quit, and the point forced Brazil to take a TO as their lead was cut to three, 17-14.
 Despite Japan's valiant efforts, Brazil took the set 25-17 to record their third victory over Japan in the 2006 World Grand Prix after beating them 3-0 in Tokyo and Okayama.