Defending champions Russia, host Italy, World No. 1 Brazil, World No. 2 USA, China, the Dominican Republic and Germany have booked their tickets for the second round of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship in Italy on Thursday. Italy, Brazil, China and Russia are the only nations left yet to lose a set at this world championship.
With two matches to spare, Russia were the first team to claim one of the 16 available tickets for Round II of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships on Thursday. The defending champions defeated Kazakhstan 3-0 to retain a perfect record after three matches. Russia have reached nine points at the head of the table in Pool C and are beyond the reach of either Kazakhstan or Mexico. USA are through to Round II as well, having won their match in Verona 3-0 over the Netherlands. The Netherlands though are still with a 2-1 record and have one foot already in the next round.
In Rome, Italy have solidly defeated Argentina 3-0 to become the second team to qualify to Round II of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships. Although there are still two more match days in Round I pool play, the Dominican Republic and Germany claim their next round tickets as well. All three of the qualifiers from Pool A are beyond the reach of both Argentina and Tunisia, who remain winless at the bottom of the table.
China have completed their job in Bari, defeating Belgium in straight sets to retain a perfect record and claim their own ticket to the next round. The rest of the qualifying spots from Pool D, though are still open.
Bulgaria defeated Turkey in the Balkan classic in Trieste 3-2 to create a very interesting situation in Pool B. World No. 1 Brazil are qualified for the next round and Serbia are almost sure to follow, but the other two spots remain wide open, to be contested between Turkey, Canada and Bulgaria.
A total of 60 matches are played during the first phase of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship, running from September 23-28 with the best four teams of the four pools advancing to the second competition round.
Pool battles continue on Saturday with the fourth competition day of the 17th editions of FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship coming up.
Although nine spots are still open, the composition of the two pools of the next round is already taking shape. Here is how it stands on the completion of Thursday's action across the four host cities:
POOL E: Italy, Dominican Republic, Germany, China. Four spots still open.
POOL F: Brazil, Russia, USA. Five spots still open.
Germany-Tunisia / 3-0 / VIEW
Croatia-Dominican Republic / 2-3 / VIEW
Argentina-Italy / 0-3 / VIEW
Canada-Brazil / 0-3 / VIEW
Cameroon-Serbia / 0-3 / VIEW
Turkey-Bulgaria / 2-3 / VIEW
Thailand-Mexico / 3-0 / VIEW
Kazakhstan-Russia / 0-3 / VIEW
Netherlands-USA / 0-3 / VIEW
Puerto Rico-Azerbaijan / 2-3 / VIEW
Belgium-China / 0-3 / VIEW
Top scorer by day
Polina Rahimova- 33 of Azerbaijan v Japan on 23-9-14
Brankica Mihajlovic- 31 of Serbia v Bulgaria on 24-9-14
Polina Rahimova- 32 of Azerbaijan v Puerto Rico on 25-9-14
Top scoring performances
33- Polina Rahimova of Azerbaijan v Japan on 23-9-14
32- Polina Rahimova of Azerbaijan v Puerto Rico on 25-9-14
31- Brankica Mihajlovic of Serbia v Bulgaria on 24-9-14
Top blocking performances
10- Kubra Akman of Turkey v Bulgaria on 25-9-14
Top serving performances
5- Mizuho Ishida of Japan v Azerbaijan on 23-9-14
Top team blocking performances
18- Azerbaijan v Japan on 23-9-14
18- Turkey v Bulgaria on 25-9-14
18- Bulgaria v Turkey on 25-9-14
17- Serbia v Bulgaria on 24-9-14
Top team serving performances
11- Japan v Azerbaijan on 23-9-14
11- Germany v Argentina on 24-9-14
Highest scoring sets
36-34 Thailand v Mexico (2nd set) on 25-9-14
29-27 USA v Netherlands (1st set) on 25-9-14
Highest scoring matches
218- Azerbaijan v Puerto Rico 3-2 (25-20, 24-26, 26-24, 16-25, 17-15)
218- Croatia v Dominican Republic 2-3 (22-25, 13-25, 25-22, 26-24, 17-19)
217- Dominican Republic v Germany 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 15-13) on 23-9-14