FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship

Press release

Berruto vows Italy will fight to last match for medal

Italy captain Emanuele Birarelli registered five blocks and was awarded as MVP as his team downed Japan in straight sets on Saturday night at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium

Tokyo, Japan, November 23, 2013. Team Japan lost in straight sets to Italy on Saturday evening their next-to-last game in the competition. Though cheered by many fans, the home heroes could not stand Italy service and power and had to surrender in three consecutive sets.

Italy coach Mauro Berruto: "I'm very happy. Our goal was to focus on the present and control what was in our hands. We had good sideout and reception. The level of volleyball in this tournament is very high. I'm proud of our young guys. We will fight to the last match for a medal."

Japan coach Gary Sato: "We played hard. I thought we could have played smarter. When you play at this level, the margin for mistakes is small and adds up in a hurry. But this has been a good experience for us being exposed to the top four teams in the world. Tomorrow is our last chance against Iran. They are in our zone and could present a potentail roadblock to getting to the Olympics. We have our work cut out for ourselves."

Italy captain Emanuele Birarelli: "I'm very happy for the victory. The key was good sideout and consistently good blocks. I hope we can play well against Brazil tomorrow as they are the best team in the world."

Japan captain Yu Koshikawa: "They made quite a few mistakes, but we could not take advantage of them. When we made mistakes they did take advantage. It took us a long time to get our rhythm going."

Japan player Shigeru Kondoh: "We were beaten by their height and service. Our blocks were not organized. Their balls came through our defense and we lost our rhythm."

Japan player Tatsuya Fukuzawa: "Italy is known for its powerful service. We need to have better reception- Our attack was simple and they could block us. We ended up in their strategy. I should have taken more risks on attack."

Japan player Shogo Toimoto: "Our blocks did not function well throughout the match. Because of this there was lots of pressure on the players in the back. We played their game and their strategy."

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