Lausanne, 19th August 2007 – . In Osaka, Pool G was won by Poland: Bonitta’s team is going to the Final Round for the first time ever. In Chinese Taipei, despite a typhoon hitting the area, the matches were regularly played: Italy beat Brazil and they both advance to the key week. In Macau, The Netherlands got all three games played in Pool I, placing itself among the best 5.
Katarzyna Skowronska: Poland for the first time in the World Grand Prix Final Round/photo FIVB
Poland was really focused on its target: the Finals. After a bad start in Rzeswow, they have won all the matches played: what they made in Hong Kong was replayed in Osaka, beating Japan in the last match in front of 8,000 spectators. After the heavy 3-0 loss with Poland, Russia risked a lot against Kazakhstan, winning just at the end of the tie-break. But the distance with Cuba (6th place) was enough to get their tickets to Ningbo.
In Chinese Taipei, ravaged by heavy rains and wind, Italy signed a last victory against Brazil, the only loss for Guimaraes’ team from the beginning of the event. The “Azzurre” pushed by Aguero and Fiorin closed the match 3-1 even with a bad third set (25-15), and reached the second place in the standings, topped by the Brazilians. Dominican Republic beat Chinese Taipei to avoid the last place.
In Macau, The Netherlands was the best. Especially against U.S.A., the crucial game won by the Orange 3-1. As for Head Coach Avital Selinger, “We remained concentrated and worked together as a team. We did well in the first two sets. Only after the 2 sets, we encountered some problems, and the USA took advantage of it. In the 4th set, we regained our rhythm. It was a tremendous match and we won it.” The good results against Cuba (3-2) and China (3-0) were useless for U.S.A.: like Cuba, Lang Ping’s squad is out of the best five.
The Final Round will be played in Ningbo (China) from Wednesday 22nd to Sunday 26th August. The six teams will play with a Round Robin formula, the same system as for the Preliminary Rounds.
FIVB World Grand Prix Preliminary Round Standings
1 Brazil, 2. Italy, 3. Russia, 4. Poland, 5. Netherlands, 6. Cuba, 7. U.S.A., 8. China, 9. Japan, 10. Kazakhstan, 11. Dominican Republic, 12. Chinese Taipei.
Michael Bradley Photography