Jubilant scenes as the girls from Japan - playing in yellow for the first time - celebrate victory over Thailand on the third day of the FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup 2009
Tokyo, Japan, November 12, 2009 – The first of two FIVB Women's World Grand Champions Cup 2009 stops was completed in Tokyo with Olympic gold medalists Brazil and European champions Italy both collecting their third victory from as many matches on Thursday. World number one Brazil beat Korea 3-0 (28-26, 25-17, 25-15), Italy outclassed the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-20) while Japan moved into clear third after claiming their second victory of the tournament beating Thailand 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-12).
After three days in Tokyo, the FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup 2009 moves onto Fukuoka on Friday with the last two days of competition on Saturday -featuring the top two sides Brazil and Italy against each other - and Sunday.
Brazil beat Korea 3-0 (28-26, 25-17, 25-15)
Defending champions Brazil overcame wild card entry Korea for their third straight win in what coach Ze Roberto described as a “perfect” performance. Mari scored 16 points to maintain her status as Brazil’s leading scorer in the tournament with 49 points, followed by Sheilla with 13 as Brazil looked ominously dangerous ahead of their big showdown with Italy on Saturday. The tournament’s top scorer Yeon-Koung Kim was again Korea's leading contributor with 16 points to total 61 overall. “Our serve, defence and blocking all went well today,” Brazil coach Ze Roberto said. “I could say it was perfect.”
Italy beat the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-20)
World Cup champions Italy turned a page and overcame their rusty performance against Korea on Wednesday by cruising past the Dominican Republic to match Brazil by remaining unbeaten in the tournament. Four players reached double figures for the Italians, with Lucia Bosetti the top scorer on 12 points. By contrast, only one Dominican reached double figures – Prisilla Rivera with 16 points. “The important thing is to continue to have games like today,” Italy coach Massimo Barbolini said. “We don't want any more games like yesterday's. We won because we paid good attention to Dominican Republic's play. The first set was difficult, but in the second set we didn't make many mistakes.”
Japan beat Thailand 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-12)
Hosts Japan reversed their recent Asian Championship semi-final defeat to Thailand and showed true guts and determination to overcome the loss through injury of star player Megumi Kurihara to hand Thailand their third straight defeat in the tournament. Wing spiker Saori Kimura took it on her shoulders to fill the big shoes of “Princess Megu” and was inspirational in scoring 20 points, double the next best - Mai Yamaguchi. Despite rusty moments, the world number seven thrived on the enormous home crowd support to march to victory and keep alive their World Grand Champions Cup title hopes.
Standings: 1) Brazil (3:0), Italy (3:0), Japan (2:1), Dom Republic (1:2), Thailand (0:3), Korea (0:3)
Day Four: Travel Day
Agenda for Day Five: Thailand v Korea (12.30pm), Italy v Brazil (2.30pm), Dominican Republic v Japan (6pm)
For more info: Richard Baker - FIVB Deputy Communications Director
Mobile in Japan: +81 (0)80 1311 9988 or firstname.lastname@example.org