Greek Olympic dream
still alive with quarterfinal qualification
Greece, August 21, 2004 – In a brilliant day of
exhilarating Volleyball, a dramatic five-set thriller
3-2 (25-22, 14-25, 26-24, 23-25, 15-10) against France
sealed Greece’s quarterfinal spot in the 2004 Olympic
Games men’s Volleyball competition on a day when seven
of the eight quarterfinalists were found.
The Peace and Friendship Stadium was definitely the
place to be on Saturday for drama, excitement and
tension. With eight quarterfinal places up for grabs,
wins to USA, Italy, Poland, Serbia and Montenegro,
Brazil and Greece confirmed seven of the spots. And
there was no more exciting game than the early evening
match featuring the hosts and France, which offered all
the features of any great classic – twists, turns and
suspension – before Greece finally triumphed amongst
scenes of colourful celebration.
"It was a great win,” Greece’s Konstantinos
Christofidelis said. “We have now beaten an important
team, who have always shown they can perform. We started
slowly but we eventually found our rhythm. We were
desperate to reach the next phase of this tournament.”
"We were lacking unity as a team,” French coach Philippe
Blain said. “We were beaten by a good Greek team. We
lacked defense, and in the fifth set it seemed like
everything was in favor of Greece."
In Pool B all four quarterfinalists have been found.
Brazil, who beat Russia 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-23), top
the pool with four wins from four matches. The world
champions are joined in the quarterfinals by Italy, with
one defeat, and USA, and Russia, who have two wins and
two defeats. On Saturday, Italy beat the Netherlands 3-0
(25-19, 25-21, 25-20) while USA beat Australia 3-1
(25-19, 23-25, 25-13, 25-19). The Netherlands can still
draw level with USA and Russia on the final day on
Monday if they beat Australia and the other two teams
lose but their set ratio is too inferior for them to
gain a quarterfinal berth.
In Pool A, one spot remains to be decided. Defending
champions Serbia and Montenegro, who defeated a brave
Argentina side 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-23), lead
the group with three wins and a loss, equal with Greece
and Argentina. The last remaining quarterfinal spot will
be decided on Monday when France play Tunisia and Poland,
who beat Tunisia 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-19, 25-23) play
Argentina. France must win well and hope Poland lose
their match in straight sets.
The fifth day of the women’s competition resumes on
Sunday with Germany playing the Dominican Republic at
09:00. The other women’s matches see Japan playing
Kenya, Russia taking on China, Greece hosting Italy,
Brazil playing Korea and Cuba playing USA in a must-win
match for the world number one Americans.
Volleyball Greats take in the Olympic spectacle
Greece, August 21, 2004 – The two captains of the first
Volleyball teams to win Olympic gold are here at the
Peace and Friendship Stadium taking in the 10th edition
of Volleyball at the Olympics Games.
Ms. Masae Nakamura (nee Kasai), 70, the former Japanese
women’s captain, and former Russian men’s captain Mr.
Yuri Chesnokov,71, are now participating in the 28th
Olympiad in different functions but in 1964 they led
their respect teams to the inaugural Olympic gold medal
in Volleyball. Pic: The first Olympic Volleyball
gold medalists from 1964 - Japan's Masae Kasae (left)
and Russia's Yuri Chesnokov
Ms. Nakamura is now the manager of the Japanese women’s
team, while Mr. Chesnokov is a FIVB Control Committee
member for the Volleyball competition.
“The memory of returning to the Olympics is amazing,”
said Ms. Nakamura. “I was stunned by the great reaction
of the spectators and the fans. There are quite a few
Japanese followers here so it is quite emotional.”
The 2004 Athens Olympics are the first Olympic Games for
Ms. Nakamura since she captained the 1964 Japanese side
to the inaugural Olympic Volleyball title. While for
FIVB Executive Vice-President Mr. Chesnokov this
represents his 10th Olympic Games in total, from which
he has claimed all three medals. He won gold as a player
in 1964, claimed a silver and bronze medal as coach in
1972 and 76 respectively and has attended six Olympic
Games as an official.
“It’s a thrill to witness the 40th anniversary of
Volleyball at the Olympics,” Mr. Chesnokov said. “There
has been a complete revolution of the sport over the
years thanks to the FIVB President Dr. Rubén Acosta and
right now Volleyball is a wonderful spectacle.”
Ms. Nakamura started in her new role with the Japanese
side in 2003 and now she is hoping her team of 2004 can
repeat her performance in 1964 and win gold. However, to
do that Japan need to beat Kenya and hope Greece lose to
Italy on the last day of the Preliminary Round on Sunday
in order to book a quarterfinal spot.
“I’m very proud of what this team has achieved over the
past year and hopefully we can continue with some of that
great form here at the Olympics," she said. "The team is still in
the process of improving but for an inexperienced, young
side they are achieving remarkable things.”
quartet as South Americans defend unbeaten records
August 21 – The American, Dutch, Polish and French Men's
Volleyball teams all face must-win games while Brazil
and Argentina will attempt to preserve unbeaten records
and their lofty positions atop their respective pools
when the fourth day of the men’s Volleyball competition
starts on Saturday. Pic: Marcos Milincovic and his
Argentine team will be looking to go top of Pool A
The action at the Peace and Friendship Stadium starts at
09:00 with a Pool B between the United States (1-2) and
Australia (0-3). With a final preliminary game against
the world champion Brazilians to follow, the Americans
must see off Australia to stay in the frame for the
The Netherlands (1-2) face their own crunch match at
11:00 against Pool B rivals Italy (2-1), currently
ranked No.2 in the world. The Dutch will anticipate a
win over Australia in their last game, so they will give
themselves a real chance of making the quarterfinals if
they can beat the Italians.
Next up, at 14:00, is the Poland (1-2) v Tunisia (0-3)
game. Losers in their past two Pool A games, the Poles
cannot afford to slip up here with a date against
Argentina in their last preliminary game.
Defending Olympic champions Serbia & Montenegro (2-1)
play Argentina (3-0) at 16:00, with the winner likely to
top Pool A, while world No.4 France (1-2) follow at
19:30 against hosts Greece (2-1). If the French can win
this Pool A game they will expect earn a quarterfinal
berth by beating Tunisia in their final game.
The closing game of the day is the tantalising showdown
between Brazil (3-0) and Russia (2-1). With top spot in
Pool B up for grabs, this should be a classic.