Lausanne, 5th August 2007 – The first week end of the FIVB World Grand Prix returns its verdict. Three pools were played for this starting leg from Friday to Sunday in Japan, Italy and Poland, with Cuba, Brazil and Russia topping each of the three groups. The tougher challenge was in Rzeszow, where the hosting Poland ended with a triple loss and only the point ratio decided the order of arrival among Russia, U.S.A. and China.
Tokyo offered a great show for Volleyball fans: 9.700 spectators packed the Ariake Colosseum for the last match Japan – Cuba. The Caribbeans were the leading actors of the Pool A by beating 3-0 Dominican Republic and Kazakhstan. Same results for Japan, which was the only team trying to stop the Cuban game with a terrific match ended 13-15 in the fifth set. A tie break won by Kazakhstan left Dominican Republic at the end of the Pool.
In Verona, Italy – Brazil closed the three days tournament with a tie-break battle, won 8-15 by the South Americans. A super Taismary Aguero (62 attempts attacking, 29 points), a former Olympic and World Champion with Cuba having her debut this week in the Italian team, was not enough to stop Sheilla Castro (26) and Paula Pequeno (21). All the others matches finished with 3-0 results. Brazil and Italy crushed the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei, while after two losses in a row, the Netherlands clinched their first success in the World Grand Prix beating 3-0 Chinese Taipei.
In Poland, the city of Rzeszow saw Russia at the top of the Pool C standing despite a 0-3 loss with U.S.A. (23-25, 22-25, 13-25), having real problems with finishing their attacks that helped to defeat China 3-1 on Friday. The last match of Polish tournament ended with Poland loosing to Russia 0-3 (17-25, 16-25, 21-25). “I want to apologize for the level of our game today, the responsibility is mine – said the new Polish coach, the 2002 World Champion Marco Bonitta. - The first two sets will be an example of what we shouldn’t do. Actually, I’m furious.” His team ended the home experience with a 0-3 negative record. U.S.A. signed a 2-3 with Poland, the great achievement against Russia, then fell in front of China which showed the perfect fettle of Zhang Yuehong coming from the bench.
The second weekend (10th - 12th August) is scheduled in Tokyo, Japan (Pool D: Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Netherlands), in Khabarovsk, Russia (Pool E: Cuba, Kazakhstan, Russia, U.S.A.) and in Hong Kong, China (Pool F: China, Dominican Republic, Italy, Poland).
The third weekend (17th - 19th August) is foreseeing in Osaka, Japan (Pool G: Japan, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia), in Taipei, Chinese Taipei (Pool H: Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Dominican Republic, Italy) and in Macau (Pool I: China, Cuba, Netherlands, U.S.A.).