Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 25, 2008 - Brazil will play the first Semi Final on Saturday at Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro, facing USA at 10,00 a.m. (local time). The 12,000-seat stadium will then host the second Semi Final, at 13.15, among Serbia and USA. Poland and Japan are out of the competition now, after today the 3-0 losses against Serbia and Brazil respectively.
It was an easy match for Brazil against the young selection which Japan chose for these finals (25-16, 25-23, 25-15). The Brazilian setters Marcelinho and Bruno enjoyed the match offering regularly the Mikasa ball to every team-mate. The two best Japanese players, Shimizu and Fukuzawa, made their best to extend the match, but the host team was too strong for them.
That’s why Brazilian Captain Giba only talked to the media about his team: “It was a good game for us because we could have all the players in the court for some time. It will be really important in the Semi Final match that all the players have a good rhythm.”
Japanese Captain Takeshi Kitajima said: “We are a young team who come to Brazil thinking that we were able to win some matches. Now, we see how much we need to improve to be among the best teams.”
In the second match of the day and last for the pool phase, Serbia defeated Poland by 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-22) and assured the first place of the Pool F of the FIVB World League 2008 Final Round. It was a one-way match, with a tough performance from the former Olympic champions: the Serbians literally crushed the Polish that were not able to react. Diagonal spiker Wlazly, usually the most dangerous player in Lozano’s team, closed the match with 5 points over 18 attacking attempts.
Serbian Captain Nikola Grbic: “It was a dangerous match to us. Since the win against the USA we were with one leg in the Semi Finals, but we did not relax and played to win the match.”
“Serbia played really well, as they had already done against the USA” stressed Polish Head Coach Raul Lozano. “I cannot find a reason for this result just looking to the tactical and technical sides of the match. It was the worst match since I’m coaching Poland.”
15 different TV channels broadcast the matches today. Now all the focus is on Saturday matches, drawing the path to the medals.
Full match descriptions, statistics, free photo for media purpose on FIVB.org
Pools final standings
1. Brazil 4
2. Russia 3
3. Japan 2
1. Serbia 4
2. USA 3
3. Poland 2
Saturday, July 26
10:00 Semi-final: Brazil - USA
13:15 Semi-final: Serbia - Russia
Sunday, July 27
09:30 Bronze-medal match
12:30 Gold-medal match
“Follow me” by Andrea Zorzi
The FIVB website is enriched with a special blog written by former World Champion Andrea Zorzi. Video interviews and articles are displayed every day from Rio, showing to all Volleyball fans what is happening backstage at FIVB’s premier annual Men’s event. On line now the interview with Russia Head Coach, Vladimir Alekno, with a comment about the new Olympic ball.