Osaka, 16th November 2006 – Russia became the first team in over 18 months to beat Brazil in an FIVB international competition today as they outlasted the South Americans in the tie-break final at the FIVB Women’s World Championship. The Russians won 15-25, 25-23, 25-18, 20-25, 15-13 to end Brazil's hopes of a first world crown and take the gold medal for the first time since 1990. The final was the 104th match of the women's World Championships in Japan, which attracted over 250,000 spectators.
The Russian team celebrate
Russia’s Italian head coach Giovanni Caprara attributed the victory to three key players, Godina, Gamova and Sokolova (Shashkova): “These three players have a very strong motivation, and without strong motivation it is impossible to play well. We also found a setter who can run for five hours if necessary and still make high sets, a libero who thinks first about reception and two middle blockers who think about blocking. As well as these seven players we have five more who have worked very hard for six months, and also my staff worked hard for this victory.”
After seeing his team’s unbeaten record in the tournament smashed in the last game, Brazil’s disappointed coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes could only congratulate his players. “They fought hard until the very last moment. They made a great effort, stuck to the ball till the end. They worked hard in the tie-break set and I think in that kind of situation it's difficult to decide which team wins and which loses,” he said.
Serbia and Montenegro, whose volleyball federations will go their separate ways after the Worlds, defeated the 2002 world champions 25-22, 25-22, 25-21 to take the bronze medal and complete a remarkable journey by a team that was ranked 30th in the world when they arrived for their first World Championships since 1978.
Serbia and Montenegro head coach Zoran Terzic declared himself “more than pleased” with the way his team had played. “It was the first time that we have played such an important match. It is very difficult to beat any team twice in such a short time and it's even more difficult when it is the defending World Champion,” he said.
After opening and closing his 2006 World Championship campaign with defeats to Serbia and Montenegro, Italy’s coach Massimo Barbolini had to face up to his own predictions. “At the end of the second round I said that Serbia was not a surprise but a reality of this tournament,” he said, “and today they showed this was a fact.” Having stepped in as a caretaker coach only weeks before the start of the tournament, Barbolini will return to Italy to continue coaching his club Perugia before considering any plans for the future.