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FIVB Women's World Cup 2007
Match Description
Japan breeze past Thailand

Osaka, Japan, November 6, 2007: Asian champions Japan put Sunday's defeat by Serbia behind them by sweeping regional rivals Thailand 3-0 at Namihaya Dome on Tuesday night.
 In the third match of the first day at Osaka, world No. 7 Japan had too much big-match experience for the world's 30th-ranked team and came home in style 25-19, 27-25, 25-14.
 The straight-sets victory -- in front of 7,100 spectators -- improved their win-loss record to 3-1 with seven matches to play, but Thailand dropped to 0-4 on their World Cup debut.
 The match between two of Asia's top teams lived up to its billing, as players threw themselves around the court to pull off some incredible digs.
 Japan libero Sano and Takahashi showed the Thais they would have to work for every point, and Araki and Kurihara scored authoritative winners as Japan built up a three-point lead at the first TTO, 8-5.
 In reply, Onuma, captain Wilavan and Saymai at the net all showed the Osaka public the eye-catching play of the Thai team, despite their lack of height compared to the Japanese.
 When Amporn raced around an overhead set from Nootsara and spiked powerfully from the right, the crowd gasped at the speed and the precision of the yellow-shirted Thais. And then she did it again.
 A full-stretch, one-handed dig from libero Wanna was matched by Takeshita's acrobatics on the other side of the net, before Kimura stroked another point from close-quarters, 16-10 Japan at the second TTO.
 The Thai blocking forced Japan into some attack errors as the set progressed, but Sugiyama was too quick for them down the middle and sent in some trademark flashing spikes.
 Narumon delayed Japan's march towards the first set with a delicate winner on the right, and Nootsara beat Sano with a sharply dipping floated service ace.
 The scoreboard ticked over rapidly amidst the quickfire plays, and Japan took the opening frame 25-19.
 Thailand's "Scorpion Queen" Pleumjit settled into her fluid rhythm in the second set, helping her team build a 6-3 lead, and Onuma carved one up the left for 8-6 Thailand at the first TTO.
 Kurihara, at a relatively modest 1.86 metres still six centimetres taller than the biggest Thai, had her elegant but razor-sharp spikes returned time after time by the perfectly positioned Thai defence, but she got her own back by blocking Amporn on the Thai left.
 Japan caught up mid-set with the outside spiking of Kimura and Takahashi, and the home team led 16-15 at the second TTO.
 On the restart, Pleumjit soared from the back court to leave two Japanese defenders sprawling on the base line, and Amporn struck again from an angle on the right. A blistering jump serve ace from Onuma moved Thailand ahead 18-17, and Wilavan split the Japan defence in a blur of yellow at the net.
 Down 21-19, Malika replaced Wilavan -- the captain watching from the bench in admiration as Pleumjit battered another glorious winner. Onuma brought Thailand level 22-22, forcing a Japan TO.
 Kimura put Japan back on track, only for Onuma to reply immediately with another explosive strike on the left. Japan had set point at 24-23, but Onuma came to the rescue, blazing into the block and seeing the ball spin out on the opposite side. On Japan's third set point, Kurihara's spike from the left had too much power and fizzed past the defence for 27-25, 2-0 Japan and a 10-minute entertainment break.
 In the third set, Takahashi on Japan's left got the better of the Thai block on two straight points to move her team ahead 6-3, forcing a Thai TO. Although Malika denied her with a mid-court dig, the rally was not dead, and still Takahashi finished it wide left. The Thai blockers shook their heads in frustration at Takahashi's ability to score when under severe pressure.
 Japan led 8-5 at the first TTO, and Araki smashed through a two-strong block in the centre of the net for 9-6. On the next point, with the Thai defence scattered in a furious rally, Araki calmly dinked one over the top into a big space to increase the lead.
 When Sugiyama blocked Pleumjit for 13-8, Japan were beginning to run away with it against a tiring Thai team. Sugiyama again denied Pleumjit, and Japan led 16-8 at the second TTO.
 Sugiyama underlined her dominance at the net over Pleumjit by blocking the Thai star immediately on the resumption, as did Takahashi down the left by blazing past Narumon. Even Onuma lost her range for Thailand, who called a TO trailing 20-11 and tumbling towards defeat. Kurihara brought up match point 24-14, and poor serve reception ended it on the next point.