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China and Russia display

 winning form

Croatia, 26 Sept - China and Russia have identified themselves as the teams to beat in the 7th Girls' Youth World Championship currently underway in Croatia.

In the four elimination matches to determine the quarterfinalists, Poland defeated Spain 3:1 (23:25; 25:22; 25:14; 25:18) and Italy played with confidence to defeat Argentina 3:0 (25:18; 25:18; 25:23).

Japan and Korea met in the third elimination match in what was the match of the day, Japan claiming the victory 3:1 (22:25; 25:15; 25:21; 25:17). Japan lost the first set, but not the desire to succeed, coming back in an excellent display of youth volleyball.

Host nation Croatia also slid out of contention after its loss to Dominican Republic 1:3 (21:25; 25:23; 23:25; 19:25) in what was a hard match for young Croatian team.

"We are the youngest team in the tournament, and the girls are inexperienced, that is the main reason for our loss. My girls could not stop Prisilla Rivera [Dominican Republic] - she was hitting very strongly. Overall, Dominican Republic played better and they deserved this victory," said Croatian head coach, Pero Bozic, after the match.

In the seeding group matches, China displayed superior volleyball in its defeat of Brazil 3:0 (25:21; 25:13; 25:22). The Chinese played excellent defense, and the young Chinese setter, Zhang Qian, did a great job in organizing the fast and concise offence.

In the final match, Chinese Taipei served very well giving the Russian receivers many problems, but Russia's better hitting and blocking percentage gave them the match 3:0 (25:15; 25:17; 25:22).

On Friday, 28 September 2001, in quarterfinal matches will see:

Russia v Poland

Brazil v Dominican Republic

Chinese Taipei v Italy

China v Japan

 

Quarter-finals.

Semi-finalists : Poland vs. Brazil and Italy vs. China

Pula, Croatia, 27 Sept - The quarter-finals day started with the great Polish victory over Russia 3:0 (27 :25 ; 25 :21 ;25 :18). 

The Polish girls played their best, defeating a very tall Russian wall. The first two sets were close, but at 12:16 in the second, Poland won 11 points in a row. taking the set 25:21, and from there they did not let the Russians back into the match. 

"In this match my girls played excellent. Everything that we set up before the game, worked out fine. They had a good block and a fabulous attack, and that's why we won against a tall Russian team. Now, we look forward the next match against the winner between Brazil and Dominican Republic," said Polish head coach, Andrzej Pec, with a big smile on his face.

In other matches, Brazil defeated Dominican Republic 3:1 (22:25; 25:13; 25:22; 25:18) and qualified as a second semi-finalist. 

Brazil's head coach, Wadson Lima, expressed concern having to face an in-form Poland in a semi-final round. 

"They are a very good team," he said. "We only just defeated Poland 3:2 in the earlier rounds, and they have improved since then".

The third match of the day was between Italy and Chinese Taipei. Even though Chinese Taipei is the shortest team on the championship they had 8 blocks in comparison to 7 from the Italians, but unforced errors by Chinese Taipei, and a more effective attack by the Italians gave Italy the win 3:1 (25:17; 25:22; 22:25; 25:22). 

From the total of 61 offensive points by the Italian team, 40 points came from tempered hitters  Chiara Di Julio (24) and Martina Guiggi (16).

In the last match, defending champion Japan was defeated by China 0:3 (23:25; 17:25; 23:25). This puts Japan out of medal contention.

The Japanese played beautiful court volleyball, but had great problems in serve reception. They realized only 19,9%, compared to the Chinese 46,6%. 

Semi-finalists for places 1-4 : Poland vs. Brazil and Italy vs. China

The semi-final matches for places 5-8: Russia v Dominican Republic and Japan v Chinese Taipei.

 

--- STOP PRESS ---

China wins 7th Girls' Youth World Championship

Pula, Croatia, 30 Sept. - China is a new Girls' Youth World Champion, the Asian girls defeating Brazil in four sets 3:1 (25:23; 25:21; 25:27; 25:22) in Sunday afternoons final in Pula, Croatia.

China's fast play dominated the court in all sets. Even though Brazil had the best blocker of the tournament, Fabiana Claudino, the Chinese attacks were unstoppable on the day.

The final was a close match between the best two youth teams in the world, the result a demonstration of China's better-structured and quicker offence, and more precise serving.

"It was a really tough game. Brazil is a great team," said Huang Xiuqin, Chinese head coach, still feeling the pressure of the match.

"We based our game on very fast actions, so the Brazilians could not stop us easily. This is the main reason we won tonight," said Xiuqin.

Huang Huiping, the Chinese middle blocker, was the standout player of the final and the championship. Don't be surprised if Huiping features as one of the key figures of the Chinese team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

In the bronze medal match, Poland just held on in a tough five-setter against Italy, claiming a well deserved victory. It was a rematch of the final of 2000 Girls' Youth European Championship 2000, with both teams fielding the same starting line-ups and coaches, but this time there was a different result: Poland winning 3:2 (25:12; 22:25; 25:22; 23:25; 15:10)

According to statistics, the Polish team had the advantage in both scoring (attack, block and serve) and non-scoring skills (reception), but they made more errors than the Italians.

The best scorer of the match was Anna Baranska, Polish outside hitter who showed great talent and ability throughout the tournament.

In the playoff for 5th spot, defending champion Japan finished defeated Russia 3:0 (25:17; 25:19; 25:20). Once again Japanese team work, attitude and overall performance stays on the highest level and helped them achieve the victory. Chinese Taipei grabbed the seventh position after a 3 :1 (25:19; 31:29; 14:25; 25:19) victory over Dominican Republic.

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS:

Best Scorer : Huang Huiping (CHN)

Best Attacker : Fabiana Claudino (BRA)

Best Blocker : Fabiana Claudino (BRA)

Best Server : Ayako Sana (JPN)

Best Digger : Sara Paris (ITA)

Best Setter : Zhang Qian (CHN)

Best Receiver : Raquele Lenartowicz (BRA)

Final Standings

1 CHINA

2 BRAZIL

3 POLAND

4 ITALIA

5 JAPAN

6 RUSSIA

7 CHINESE TAIPEI

8 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

9 ARGENTINA, CROATIA, KOREA, SPAIN

13 BELARUS, CZECH REPUBLIC, KENYA, PUERTO RICO