Pila & Wloclawek, Poland, August 10, 2003 - After two days play at the 2003 FIVB Girls' Under 18 World Championship Pool D leaders Brazil are already setting the pace having already qualified for the quarterfinals with their top spot in the group guaranteed.
Six other teams - Serbia & Montenegro, Croatia, Russia, Poland, China, and Italy - qualified for the second round (where quarterfinal qualifying continues) following day two action but three quarterfinal spots - awarded to the pool winner's - are still up for grabs.
In the very first match of the day in Pila, Brazil overcame the USA in just three sets to seal top spot in their group, following a solid preparation schedule.
"We worked a lot on the US before the game making all necessary preparations, including the statistics and video, so we knew exactly what to expect" revealed Brazilian coach Moura Luizomar. Indeed, his players impressed everyone at the venue once again.
In the first and second sets the United States had no reply to Brazil's attacks and were forced into making plenty of mistakes, especially in reception. In the third set the Brazilians had to chase the rivals for most of the time and they finally succeeded completing their second consecutive 3-0 win.
In the second Pool D match Belarus and Czech Republic fought hard to keep their hopes alive. The Czechs took the lead twice, after the first and third sets, and Belarus bounced back each time in the second and fourth sets. The tie-breaker saw the see-saw battle continue before the Czech Republic finished off the match, gaining their first victory, 3-2. For the Belarussians, who lost for the second time, they must beat USA on Monday to keep their championship alive.
In Pool B both favourites, Russia and Poland, remained unbeaten. The Russians lost their first set in Pila as they dropped the third set in an otherwise one-sided four-set contest with Thailand. "After the first two sets we already thoguht we would be a winner and this is why we lost the third, " Russian captain Marian Borodakova said. Poland had no troubles at all playing against Egypt. Head coach of the home team, Mariusz Lobacz, had an opportunity to test many tactical variations, before their decisive Pool B match against Russia on Monday, and still came away with a straight sets victory, conceding only 42 points.
In Wloclawek, all of the winners needed just three sets to be victorious. In Pool A Serbia and Montenegro overcame Venezuela while the European Champion, Croatia, showed no mercy to Kenya. Both unbeaten Balkan teams will make for a great show when they play each other on Monday, as they will be struggling for the supremacy and the spot in the quaterfinals.
In Pool C, China was involved in a titanic battle with Chinese Taipei. The defending champions had some problems in the first and third sets but eventually they reached their second 3-0 victory. In its last Preliminary Round game China faces Italy, who beat Hungary 3-0 on Sunday, in a match which will decide the Pool C winner.