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FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2006
 
Match Description
 
Brazil takes honors against Russia
 

Ekaterina Gamova of Russia spikes against Brazil's Fabiana Claudino
Osaka, Japan, November 12, 2006 -- Brazil triumphed in the matchup between the only two unbeaten teams in the Women's World Championship when they overcame Russia 3-1 in a tense battle in Osaka.
The fired-up Brazilians rallied to defeat the Russians 27-29, 25-14, 27-25, 25-22. The Russians ended up with a 6-1 record in Pool F.
Russia, playing without injured star player Lioubov Shashkova, eased out to an early lead at 5-2 before Brazil got into the game, thanks initially to a run of Russian errors that turned the score around to 6-5 in Brazil's favor. But 202-cm Ekaterina Gamova turned the heat up with some impressive spiking and Fabiana Claudinho responded for the Brazilians, pulling the teams level at 15. Brazil moved from a point down to lead 21-19 after a couple of great blocks by Claudinho (assisted by Sheilla Castro and Welissa Gonzaga) but the Russians drew level at 22. Brazil managed to stave off three setpoints before Castro planted a spike wide and the Russians took the set 29-27.
The Brazilians rebounded with a vengeance behind the spiking of Claudinho, a service ace by Gonzaga and two Russian errors to take an 8-3 lead at the first technical timeout and 10-3 soon after. Then the Russians seem to lose their composure completely as Brazil rushed out to a 16-6 margin at the second TTO. The Russian comedy of errors continued, despite a brief respite when Brazil already had 23 points. Fabiana Alvim de Oliveira set up setpoint and Gonzaga rounded things off to secure the set at 25-14.
Parity, of a sorts, was restored in the third set, but Russian coach Giovanni Caprara took out his error-prone captain Natalia Safronova after just two points, following a netted spike. Brazil's Castro led her team into an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout and stretched this to 10-6 before Caprara decided on a timeout of his own to calm his troops down. After losing seven points in a row, the Russians managed a mini-comeback thanks to a couple of Brazilian errors and pulled back to within a point at 11-10, but then the Brazilians righted the ship and were three points ahead at the second TTO. However, the ship wobbled badly soon after and a series of errors by the South Americans reversed the lead. Jaqueline Carvalho came up with a huge spike to put Brazil 20-19 in front, Gonzaga made a timely push shot and a big block by Gonzaga and Walewska Oliveira saw Brazil to a 22-19 lead. But the Russians came back after a great spike and then a block from Elena Godina and the scores remained level at 25-25. Claudinho then delivered a classic spike from a short set and the same player finished the set off with a superb block on Gamova.
Brazil carried their form into the fourth set before letting Russia back in, but Carvalho came up with two heavy hits, along with an effort from Oliveira, and the Brazilians were 8-6 up at the first TTO. Carvalho then showed her brilliant defensive abilities to set up Castro for a heavy spike that took the score to 10-7. The Brazilians were 15-11 up before Russia came back in controversial circumstances. The Brazilians were unhappy with a foul called in Claudinho and were given a yellow card by the referee. Russia's Yulia Merkulova then blocked Claudinho and the two players exchanged angry looks at the net. With temperatures rising, the game intensified. Oliveira pushed the ball into space to put Brazil up 21-20 and a long spike by Godina gave the Brazilians a two-point lead. A huge spike by Castro made it matchpoint and Claudinho finished off with an emphatic short spike.