Italy, Brazil move ahead of the pack

Sui Shengsheng (CHN) spikes against Garcia, Endres Gustavo and Endres Murilo (BRA)

Nagano, Japan (November 23, 2005): The top two men's teams in the world, Brazil and Italy, moved ahead of the pack on the second day of the World Grand Champions Cup at Nagano Arena on Wednesday.
No. 1 Brazil survived a mighty scare to beat China in five sets, while second-ranked Italy had no such problems against Egypt, winning 3-0 for the second successive day.
In the evening match, USA recorded a tense 3-1 victory over Japan to leave both teams with a 1-1 win-loss record.
Earlier in the day, Brazil overcame a sluggish start to beat China 3-2.
The Chinese wild cards, playing with a fire and a freedom that had been absent in Tuesday's defeat by Italy, won the first two sets 25-23, 28-26, the latter after Brazil had squandered two set points.
But the Olympic champions finally found some momentum, controlled their erratic serve and took the next three sets 25-11, 25-18, 15-10.
"I am happy to win after such a slow beginning," said Brazil's head coach, Bernardo Rezende.
"I would like to congratulate China's coach. Their young players did a wonderful job. They had a lot of speed and a lot of power in the attack and the serve. They were happy and running and were really warriors on the floor."
Rezende said his team's attitude had not been right at the start of the game, following China's poor performance the previous day, and the world champions had to get used to playing against teams trying their best to beat them and with nothing to lose.
"That is the challenge we have to face every day because the pressure is on us," he said.
China's Di Anhe said his team did not have many opportunities to play against such strong opposition like Brazil, and felt his players tired from the third set, affecting the attack and the block.
"Overall my players did a good job, but they are still very young so have good times and bad times," said Di.
Italy made no such mistake against Egypt in the second match, winning in straight sets 25-20, 25-18, 25-19 in 62 minutes.
Egypt, ranked 21st in the world, played with a good deal of venom again, and Africa can feel proud of its first representative in the WGCC. They have one of the most spectacular spikers of the competition in lefty Ahmed Abd Elnaeim, who scored 12 points, but Italy had too much all-round skill to ever feel threatened.
In the evening, Japan were looking to build on the previous night's 3-2 win over Egypt, but the Americans were too experienced and ran out winners 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 25-23.
There were few rallies in a fast and ferocious encounter, and Japan saved two match points from 24-21 down in the fourth set before succumbing.
Thursday is a travel/training day, before the action resumes on Friday at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

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