London 2012

Press release

Japan routs Algeria in straight sets to open Olympic tournament


Japan's star Saori Kimura anchored her side's offense on a speedy win over the African champions of Algeria

London, Great Britain, July 28, 2012 – Team Japan started its Olympic campaign at Earls Court on Saturday morning by beating Algeria 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-7) to take maximum points from the opening match of Pool A. This is Japan’s third consecutive victory in straight sets over Algeria in international competitions and a very encouraging start for the group coached by Masayoshi Manabe. Saori Kimura paced Japan with 15 points with Saori Sakoda also finishing in double digits (10).

Japan caught a flying start (5-0) before Algeria could eventually register a first point. Erika Araki, Saori Sakoda and Saori Kimura anchored Japan’s offense and the African champions could not stand that storm, so that the opening set ended in a speedy 25-15 for Japan.

Via the valuable contribution of Zohra Bensalem, Algeria got into the match in the second set and stayed tuned up to 13 all. Afterwards, Japan changed gear and setter Yoshie Takeshita well commanded her spikers, with Sakoda and Kimura scoring with great consistency to go for a 12-1 break that sealed the final 25-14 and provisional 2-0 for the Asian ladies.

Algeria literally collapsed in set 3 and Japan dominated the scene with libero Yuko Sano standing out in defense, while coach Manabe could opt for some back-up players to cruise to the final 25-7 with Yukiko Ebata, Risa Shinnabe, Ai Otomo and Araki on fire.

On Monday, for the second round of play, Japan will have a much more demanding task as they play the winners of last year’s FIVB World Cup, Italy. As for Algeria, the Africans hope to claim their first win of the tournament  as they take on the hosts and local heroines of Great Britain.


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