Italy proved too strong for the Russians in Osaka
Lausanne, Switzerland, October 10, 2018 – Italy and China advanced to the next round of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Japan on Wednesday. Their victories guaranteed their places in the final six of the tournament, where they will be joining Serbia, who qualified a day earlier.
Italy lost their second set since the start of the championship, but quickly recovered to claim a four-set win over Russia in a Pool F encounter in Osaka. This way the Italians remained the only unbeaten team at Japan 2018 with a perfect win-loss record of 8-0, enjoying a comfortable lead in the pool standings.
With 29 points to her name, Paola Egonu became the best scorer of the match, but also the best scorer of the day across all eight games in Osaka and Nagoya. Italy’s blocking efforts made the biggest difference in the match, contributing 15 stuffs against Russia’s eight.
In a heavyweight clash between reigning Olympic champions China and defending world champions USA, the Asian side, led by star player Zhu Ting with 19 points, hammered out an emphatic straight-set win handing the Americans their first loss at Japan 2018. This result put both teams at 7-1, but China’s 21 points and 22-4 set ratio position them second in the pool standings and out of reach for fourth-placed Russia.
On Thursday, USA and Russia will be racing for Pool F’s last remaining vacancy in the last six. Any kind of win for the Americans over Italy would propel them into the next round. Otherwise, the world champs will have to rely on China defeating Russia in the last game of the pool. Serbia remain the only team in Pool E with a secure spot in the final six. Japan and the Netherlands need to win at least one set on Thursday to advance, while Brazil need to shut out the hosts and hope for a favourable point ratio.
China’s Zhu Ting attacks past the American blockers
Other Wednesday highlights:
• In Pool E in Nagoya, Brazil handed the Netherlands their first defeat in the tournament. Twice in the match, the Dutch took a one-set lead, but the South Americans came back on both occasions and followed up with winning the tie-breaker to maintain a perfect head-to-head record of 8-0 against this opponent at the World Championships. Brazil’s Tandara Caixeta hammered out 28 points, including three of her team’s 10 aces and three of her team’s 16 stuff blocks.
• Serbia not only lost their first set, but also their first match at the World Championship. Hosts Japan came back from a set down against the impeccable Serbs to win the next three and tie the all-time head-to-head record against this opponent (and its predecessors) to 8-8 in major world-level competitions. Serbia did better than Japan on all three point-scoring elements, but their abundant unforced errors were what tilted the outcome against them.
• Bulgaria persevered through an extended tie-breaker to beat Thailand in the most dramatic of Wednesday’s four matches among teams out of contention for the next round, but battling for better positions on the World Championship final standings. Middle blocker Nasya Dimitrova contributed as many as 28 points to her team’s victory and that included five of Bulgaria’s 13 stuffs in the match.
• In the other Pool F game, Turkey managed a 3-1 victory over Azerbaijan. In Pool E, Germany beat Puerto Rico in four sets and the Dominican Republic shut out Mexico.
Brazil’s moment of triumph at victory point against the Netherlands
Japan’s Miyu Nagaoka (19 points) spikes against the Serbian block of Milena Rasic (top scorer of the match with 20 points) and Brankica Mihajlovic
Thursday’s programme features the last leg of the second round with another set of eight matches in Pools E and F to be played in Nagoya and Osaka.
Match Centres for Thursday, 11 October:
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