Women Olympic Games 2004
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Day 5
22 August
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USA and Japan claim final Quarterfinal spots
Athens, Greece, August 22, 2004 – A straight sets win over Cuba in the last match of the Preliminary Round on Sunday saved world number one USA from being eliminated from the 2004 Olympic Games women’s Volleyball competition after they qualified with Japan on the final day of the Preliminary Round for next week’s quarterfinals.
The 3-0 (25-22, 25-12, 25-19) win saw USA move from last place in Pool B to finish fourth with two victories, finishing equal with Germany, who beat the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-21), but qualifying for the next round due to a better set ratio.
“We are so satisfied,” USA star Prikeba Phipps said. ”We are very happy. A few hours before the match we were very anxious about the result. We thought ‘God help us’ but we grouped together as a team, we were aggressive and so determined we finally did it. We are now in the quarterfinals”
The Americans join China, Russia and Cuba who finished first, second and third respectively in the pool, in the next phase. China beat Russia 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 28-26) in the other Pool B match.
In Pool A, Japan performed similar magical tricks. They needed to beat Kenya and hope that Greece lost to world number four Italy in order that they stay in the competition. The Japanese duly beat Kenya 3-0 (25-8, 25-17, 25-14) in just over an hour and then watched as Italy completed a 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-22) victory over the hosts. The other match in Pool A saw Brazil beat Korea 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-23) to finish on top of the group, followed by Italy, Korea and then Japan.
The quarterfinals will see Japan play China in the opening match at 14:00 on Tuesday followed by Korea v Russia, Italy v Cuba, and Brazil v USA.
The final day of the men’s competition is on Monday with some similarly exciting scenarios in store. While the four quarterfinalists in Pool B are confirmed – Brazil, Italy, Russia and USA – regardless of Monday’s results, France and Poland are fighting for the last qualification spot in Pool A.
With Serbia and Montenegro, Greece and Argentina already qualified, France need to beat winless Tunisia comfortably in the opening match at 09:00 and then hope Poland loses to Argentina convincingly to stay alive in the competition. Poland need to win a minimum of two sets against Argentina to qualify. Other matches on the final day see Russia play Italy, the Netherlands play Australia, Serbia and Montenegro play Greece and Brazil defend their unbeaten record against USA in the last match of the day at 21.30.
The Fans View
Athens, Greece, August 22 - Volleyball is celebrating is 10th anniversary at the Olympic Games and fans from right around the world are coming to the Peace and Friendship Stadium to take in the spectacle. Here’s what they think about one of the most popular sports at the 2004 Athens Games:
Svetlana, 41, Russia
“I came to Athens to support the athletes of my country. To tell the truth I didn’t have any strong intention to watch Volleyball until I heard a lot of positive comments about what takes place at Peace and Friendship Stadium. So I experienced it and I have the best impressions for the organization and for the performances.”
Bob, 25, USA
“I find it very positive both courts are situated next to the sea. To be honest my expectations for the organization were lower than its real quality. Most people come to watch track and field competitions but this year I noticed that there is an interest in Volleyball. Thanks to the Olympic Committee we can watch two matches with one ticket which is also very good.”
John, 26, Greece
“I do find Volleyball matches very interesting. I came to watch my country and I also watched the next game, because one ticket allows you to watch two matches in a session. I did enjoy it very much. The whole situation is very well organized, teams are playing well, spectators are enthusiastic and having a great time.”
Kurokawa, 45, Japan
“Volleyball matches take place in a very well organized stadium. I am impressed with my team’s performances and of the supportive spectators. The referees do their job very well and the level is extremely high and equal to the Olympic demands.”
Fernando, 27, Brazil
“The Volleyball competition is taking place in a gorgeous stadium. The atmosphere is very warm. The spectators, especially the Greeks are funny and lively. The Olympic spirit is obvious and in general I fancy watching other teams competing apart from my country.”
John, 50, France
“Volleyball matches are quite popular to people who come for the Olympics. Lots of Greeks come to the matches and are very supportive. The matches are very interesting and sometimes the players give a great show! Moreover there is a good net of information about the games from leaflets or from the website.”
Massimo, 32, Italy
“I have been to other Olympic Games before and I find these matches very interesting. I also enjoy the fact that as an Italian, our culture is similar to the Greek so sometimes I feel like home when being among Greek spectators. I am glad that woman’s matches are no more underestimated compared with those of the men.”
Piotr, 62, Poland
“I used to play Volleyball in my country and I haven’t missed a Polish match but I also enjoy watching other teams such as Greece when the seats are full and the spectators are ecstatic.”
Johanna, 37, German
“The Olympic Spirit is everywhere. I think Volleyball and Beach Volleyball at the Olympics are of an equal level with the world championships. I like volleyball matches and I come with my family. The standards are very high and the spectators are very enthusiastic without causing any problems.”
Two Quarterfinal spots still to be determined
ATHENS, 22 August – The final day of the Women’s Preliminary Round will determine which two teams will join the six teams already qualified for the quarterfinals and continue their cruise for Olympic glory.
With one game remaining for each team, Greece and Japan face must win matches against Italy and Keya respectively in Pool A while in Pool B, anyone from USA, Germany and the Dominican Republic can still qualify. Pic: USA need to beat Cuba in the day's final match
The first match of the day at 09:00 starts with a crunch clash between Germany and the Dominican Republic. Both teams need a win while hoping that Cuba can beat the United States. A United States victory rules both teams out due to the superior set ratio difference of the Americans.
At 11:00 sees Japan take on Kenya. Winning this match will, in all probability, mean qualification for the Japanese team. With a victory, the only way that Japan can lose qualification is the case that Greece beat Italy.
Sydney’s Olympic Games runner’s-up Russia and world number three China, go head-to-head at 14:00. The winner is likely to be awarded with Pool B first place.
Italy play Greece at 16:00 with their quarterfinal spot already secured. The hosts will have to upset the world champions in order to advance to the next stage, while Italy want to preserve their lofty position in Pool A.
Brazil are the heavy favourite in the match against Korea at 19:30. Both teams have already secured a spot in the quarterfinals, but Brazil are seeking to retain their unbeaten record.
And the last match of the day at 21:30 sees the defending champions Cuba take on the United States in another mouthwatering contest. While the Sydney champions have already qualified for the quarterfinals, the US need a win to secure a quarterfinal spot and that is no easy task against the talented Cubans.
ONS sk