Lausanne, Switzerland, August 22, 2010 – Brazil finished top of the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round tables on Sunday as the penultimate weekend of the 18th edition of the tournament came to an end, with the USA, Poland, Japan and Italy joining the defending champions and China as hosts of the final round.
All eyes now turn to Ningbo as the South American side look to defend their crown when play begins on Wednesday.
The Dominican Republic dealt 2009 FIVB World Grand Champions cup winners Italy their third defeat of the competition with a tight five-set victory (23-25, 32-30, 25-22, 22-25, 15-13) in Tokyo. It is the first time the side has beaten the European champions in a FIVB tournament as they ended their campaign on a high. Despite going ahead 2-1, Italy fought back in the fourth, taking the match to a nail-biting tie-break. But the Dominican Republic dug deep to grind out their third win of the tournament.
“I think this was the right result because they played the match better than us,” Massimo Barbolini, Italy coach said. “We made too many mistakes – 30 – and we were not able to be strong with our serve. This is a big problem."
Thailand claimed a 3-1 (20-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-22) win over Germany in their final match in Hong Kong. Both sides failed to qualify for the final round so they were playing for pride. Despite a strong start, taking a 1-0 lead, Germany couldn’t maintain momentum as they were dealt a blow by the Thailand attack who helped clinch the win.
Brazil scored their third straight sets win of the weekend after overcoming Poland (25-16, 27-25, 25-16) in Chinese Taipei in the days third match, proving they are the side to beat as the Volleyball world looks forward to next weekend. The South Americans were strong from the off as Poland struggled to contain the onslaught. Brazil couldn’t carry that rhythm through to the next set and nearly lost it. But they pushed through and eventually picked up the win.
"It was a good game except that we made too many mistakes in the second set,” Brazil coach Jose Roberto Guimares said. “But it was good experience for the final because we know there will be five tough games waiting for us.”
The USA scored a 3-1 (25-19, 25-10, 22-25, 25-22) victory over China in Hong Kong, handing the home side their third defeat of the tournament. Destinee Hooker was on good form in attack as the Americans picked up the first and second set. They were downed in the third but bounced back for the win in the fourth.
The Netherlands finished their 2010 campaign with an encouraging 3-2 (25-19, 22-25, 38-36, 16-25, 15-11) win over hosts Japan in Tokyo. The two sides traded blows throughout with nothing between them. However the Netherlands narrowly saw out the win, their fifth of the competition. However they miss out on qualification for the final round.
Chinese Taipei scored their first win in the history of the FIVB World Grand Prix in the days final game, edging Puerto Rico 3-2 (27-29, 25-21, 18-25, 25-23, 17-15) in front of their home fans. The match was close from the off with both sides putting immense pressure on each other. It could have gone either way but it was the hosts who clinched the win to end their competition on a high.
“Puerto Rico is a strong team, I think that luck came to help a bit in our winning today,” Sakakuchi Norimassa, Chinese Taipei coach said. “But I have to contribute the glory to our players as they played their very best Volleyball and did an excellent job to win. I am very proud of them.”
Next weekend the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix reaches its climax as six teams battle it out for the title.