Semis confirmed as US complete quartet
Eleonora Lo Bianco shows her disappointment after Italy's loss to Cuba denied them a semifinal place
Tokyo, Japan, November 10, 2010 – The semifinal line up at the FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 was decided on Wednesday after a second-round final day full of calculators and arithmetic. Defending champions Russia will take on USA in one top four semifinal on Saturday with Olympic champions Brazil playing hosts Japan in the other.
With the top two teams in the two second-round pools heading to the semifinals for positions 1-4, teams in third and fourth participating in semifinals 5-8, fifth and sixth in semifinals 9-12 and the seventh and eighth teams exiting the tournament, the battle for the semifinal spots came down to the wire.
Russia, Brazil and Japan were already confirmed as top four semifinalists, having ensured that they could finish no worse than second in their respective pools on Tuesday, so it was left to a battle between World Grand Prix champions USA and Grand Champions Cup holders Italy for the second spot in Pool F. USA lost to Brazil, leaving Italy needing a win against Cuba in the last match of the day. Yet Cuba defeated the Italians to record their third win of the round to secure fifth place and progress to the semifinals for 9-12. Italy's loss means they will face Serbia in a repeat of the 2006 World Championship bronze-medal match, in the semifinals for the 5-8 positions.
Second Round Pool Standings
Semifinal Draw for November 13 in Tokyo
Pool E (Tokyo)
Pool F (Nagoya)
Czech Republic 1:6
*** 0:7 numbers represent win:loss record
Pool E in Tokyo
Defending champions Russia had already won the pool and knew only a significant loss to Japan, who were already confirmed in the top two, would rob them of top spot. However the world No.7 continued their amazing unbeaten run in the tournament, which now stands at 12 games, with a tough 3-1 (25-21, 25-14, 23-25, 25-13) win over the hosts with Ekaterina Gamova scoring 26 points for the winners and Saori Kimura 25 for Japan.
Earlier in the day Poland, ranked eighth in the world, overcame world No. 22 Turkey 3-1 (25-23, 24-26, 27-25, 25-22) to confirm that both sides advanced through to the semifinals on points ratio difference – Poland into the semifinals for 9-12 and Turkey to the 5-8 semifinals. Whatever follows for Turkey, they have already guaranteed their best-ever finish at a Women's World Championship after finishing 10th in 2006. "Obviously, the most important point is that we won, so we are happy we will advance to the final round," Poland's Katarzyna Gajgal said. "To be classified in places 9-12 is not good enough for us. We dreamed of a higher rank."
That result also confirmed Korea's exit from the tournament as they finished in seventh spot, also on points ratio, after losing to Serbia 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-16). The win for Serbia ensured that the 2006 bronze medallists could not finish worse than fourth in Pool E and subsequently booked them a 5-8 semifinal spot.
In the first match of the day, two-time champions and world No.3 China defeated winless Peru in straight sets (25-17, 25-22, 25-21) to keep their slim 5-8 semifinal hopes alive and subsequent results ensured they progressed to the semifinals for position 9-12 on points ratio.
Pool F in Nagoya
World No. 2 USA clinched the second semifinal spot in the group despite losing to Brazil 3-1 (25-19, 24-26, 25-19, 25-23) thanks to Cuba's incredible 3-2 triumph (16-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-23, 24-22) over Italy in the last match of the day. The outstanding Kenia Carcaces scored 34 points against the Italians, who had needed to win with a substantial points ratio. The 2002 world champions, ranked fourth in the world, are now resigned to missing the top four semifinals for the first time since 1998.
"We were looking for a victory and we had a lot of confidence and desire to win the match," Cuba captain Yusidey Silie said. "Teamwork led us to victory. It was a beautiful experience for us because the Italian players are all very experienced." The win means Cuba, who are destined to record their worst-ever finish at a Women's World Championship having finished 8th in 1970, will join the Netherlands in the 9-12 semifinals.
Earlier, Thailand had kept alive their slim semifinal chances with a 3-1 (16-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-23) win over the Czech Republic, who were consigned to eighth place and elimination; however Cuba's win ended Thai hopes as it pushed them down to seventh. World No. 15 Germany, meanwhile, powered past the Netherlands in four sets (25-12, 25-14, 19-25, 27-25) to confirm themselves a spot in the semifinals for 5-8 positions for the first time since 1994 at the expense of the 10th-ranked Netherlands, who face a playoff for the 9-12 positions. Margareta Kozuch starred for Germany, finishing with 25 points including three blocks.
The FIVB Women's World Championship started with 24 teams and is played from October 29 until November 14 encompassing five cities across first and second rounds, semifinals and finals. The top four teams in the four first round (Oct. 29 - Nov. 3) pools advanced to the second round (Nov. 6 - Nov. 10) before the top six teams in the each of the two pools advanced to the semifinals (Nov. 13) and finals (Nov. 14).
Highest Scorer By Day
Day 1 (1st Rd): 28 points by Destinee Hooker (USA) in USA’s 3-1 win over Thailand in Matsumoto
Day 2 (1st Rd): 35 points by Manon Flier (NED) in Italy’s 3-2 win over the Netherlands in Hamamatsu
Day 3 (1st Rd): 27 points by Neslihan Darnel (TUR) in Turkey’s 3-2 win over the Dominican Republic in Osaka
Day 4 (1st Rd): 34 points by Aneta Havlickova (CZE) in Czech Republic’s 3-2 win over Italy in Hamamatsu
Day 5 (1st Rd): 29 points by Neslihan Darnel (TUR) in Korea’s 3-2 win over Turkey in Osaka
Day 6 (2nd Rd): 28 points by Malgorzata Glinka-Mogentale (POL) in Poland’s 3-2 win over Korea in Tokyo
Day 7 (2nd Rd): 24 points by Destinee Hooker (USA) in Italy’s 3-1 win over USA in Nagoya and by Yukiko Ebata (JPN) in Japan’s 3-1 win over Turkey in Tokyo
Day 8 (2nd Rd): 22 points by Kenia Carcaces (CUB) in Cuba’s 3-1 win over the Czech Republic in Nagoya
Day 9 (2nd Rd): 34 points by Kenia Carcaces (CUB) in Cuba’s 3-2 win over Italy in Nagoya
Highest Set Score
34-32 (CRO v CUB in Pool C) played on October 29 (Day 1) in Matsumoto and (PER v CRC in Pool A) played on November 3 in Tokyo. * Women’s World Championship records
Highest Scoring Matches
235 (CZE v ITA in 1st Round) 3-2 (25-27, 27-29, 25-23, 25-22, 17-15) played on November 2 in Hamamatsu
231 (ITA v CUB in 2nd Round) 2-3 (25-16, 24-26, 25-21, 23-25, 22-24) played on November 10 in Nagoya
220 (POL v JPN in 1st Round) 2-3 (28-26, 25-21, 20-25, 23-25, 12-15) played on October 29 in Tokyo
218 (NED v ITA in 1st Round) 2-3 (25-18, 21-25, 23-25, 28-26, 12-15) played on October 30 in Hamamatsu
212 (TUR v DOM in 1st Round) 3-2 (25-20, 25-14, 23-25, 23-25, 17-15) played on October 31 in Osaka
Tournament Top Scorers
208 Neslihan Darnel (TUR)
187 Saori Kimura (JPN)
180 Kenia Carcaces (CUB)
176 Yeon-Koung Kim (KOR)
168 Destinee Hooker (USA)
Birthdays on November 12
Nancy Metcalf (USA) turns 32
FIVB Tournaments Coming Soon
FIVB Club World Championships (December 14-21, 2010) in Doha, Qatar
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships (June 17-26, 2011) in Rome, Italy