Surgut, Russia, July 10, 2009 – Russia expects to continue their run of victories over Japan after tonight’s 3-0 win in the first match of the 2009 FIVB World League weekend at the Sparta Arena in Surgut on Friday. The Japanese once again proved to be too weak to provide any real opposition for Olympic bronze medalist. Russia also had no trouble to win back-to-back matches in Japan in June – 3-0, 3-1.
At home it was even easier job for the Russians as Japan missed two of their key players. Yu Koshikawa had been injured during the match with Bulgaria last weekend and didn’t travel to Surgut. Kunihiro Shimizu had a problem with his leg during the trip to Russia and can’t help his team here.
“We were forced to change our system of playing”, explained Japan head coach Tatsuya Ueta after the Friday’s match. “But we didn’t adjust to it. We hope to learn from the first match and put on a better play on Saturday”.
Russian head coach Daniele Bagnoli was quite satisfied with the win of his team but he still wants his players to improve. “Japan is usually stronger in the second match of the weekend so we also need to improve. And I am sure we can do it,” he said.
Now Russia and Japan are the teams with different goals in the tournament. The Japanese men sit in the last place in Pool C with 2-7 record and without any chances to qualify to the Final Round. The second-ranked in the pool Russia (6-3) still hope to go to Belgrad. While Japan fights only for the prestigious, Russia finds itself in a must-win situation.
“We are going to collect maximum points in the games left”, declared Daniele Bagnoli before the weekend. His players have just made first step to complete this goal. Will be the second one tomorrow just as easy for them?