WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - 12 November 1998

Match #49 - Pool G (Semi-Finals & Final)
7th-8th Place
NED beat JPN 3-1 (15-12, 3-15, 15-10, 15-8) - duration 1:43
11/12/98, start time: 15:30 - Attendance: 4,200

    FIVB Press Release
    Japan could not overcome the Netherlands in their last match of this World Championship

    Fast moving Asian defensive queens contra powerful towers was the mix for this match for ranking place Nr. 7 or 8 in this World Championships in Japan. It was and equal first phase of the match both teams giving the best of themselves. This resulted in very interesting volleyball with the all the skills represented. It was finally the Dutch team that had the longest breath taking the set very close 15-12. The beginning of the second set showed a completely different scenario. In fantastic play it was Japan taking a 5-1 lead. With high-pressure volleyball they kept the Dutch closed. The hard jump-serves from #6 Onuki and well organized blocking made it hard to catch-up for the Dutch 10-1. Japan showed that they are masters in using the sides of high blocks instead of trying to spike over them. In combination with excellent court defense Japan crushed the Netherlands 15-3. The third set started with a big lead for the Dutch 4-10. Japans head coach Kuzuwa (using the free-zone very frequently to talk to his players) took his time-out to re-adjust his team. The Japanese team got back into the match by hard fighting 10-13. It turned out to be not enough because big blocking on the Dutch side finished the set 10-15. In chapter 4 of this match Japan had problems in reception and attacking in the first phase giving the Dutch the opportunity to take a big lead again 3-8. Big closing blocks became a headache for Coach Kuwaza who tried to change the odds by substitutions and instructions from the sideline. The Japanese kept fighting and, supported by a big crowd, they worked like tigers in defense. The Dutch kept on pushing but Japan was still not ready to give up (6-12). It was side-out after side-out keeping the teams busy showing nice Volleyball (8-13). Finally the Netherlands took the set and the match.

    TAJIMI Asako (Japanese captain)
    Q : What do you think about the match?
    A : We lost the match against Croatia and tried to change our mentality to play the match against
    Netherlands. At first, our movement was clumsy. Sasaki tried to put enthusiasm in our team, but we
    couldn't relax ourselves enough.
    Q : What do you think after finishing all the matches?
    A : We did everything to prepare to be among the top four of the event. We had difficulties rebuilding our
    team. We are young players and have learned good and bad points through the event. It was a good
    experience for us.
    SUZUKI Hiromi (Japan)
    Q : What do you think about the match?
    A : When we were out of our rhythm, we made easy mistakes because we didn't move smoothly and lost
    the match.
    Q : What is your role in the team?
    A : I was supposed to block and create a good mood in the team. If I would have been calmer, we could
    have played better.
    KUZUWA Nobuchika (Japanese coach)
    Q : What do you think about the match?
    A : After loosing the match against Brazil, we lost our rhythm. We failed to change our mentality and mood.
    We couldn't show our best performance.
    Q : Your attacks were not so effective. You lost your matches against the teams of the same level?
    A : When a setter is in good rhythm, the team's movement is good. But if it loses its rhythm, offensive play
    becomes monotonous.
    Q : Why couldn't you stop the attacks of tall players like JELIC or ARTAMONOVA who have played in
    Japan league?
    A : Big players have a variety of offensive play.
    MATHIEU Pierre(Netherlands coach)
    Q : What do you think about the match?
    A : We saw Japan's matches on TV and studied statistics. We saw Japan play against Croatia. We
    changed our strategies two hours before the match. We rotated our team three positions. We had good net
    defense. Our blocks were mostly effective.
    BOERSMA Cintha ( Netherlands captain)
    Q : What do you think about the match?
    A : We played aggressively. We won the game not because we were technically good, but because we
    maintained our fighting spirit.

    Match Results (Adobe Acrobat .pdf file)

Match #47 - Pool G (Semi-Finals & Final)
5th-6th Place
ITA beat CRO 3-0 (15-7, 15-10, 15-8) - duration 1:08
11/12/98, start time: 10:30 - Attendance: 1,450

    FIVB Press Release
    Strong team-performance from Italy stops Croatian Superstar Barbara Jelic.

    "Will Italy be able to stop Barbara Jelic", is the only problem to solve for Headcoach Frigoni. The Croatian team is built around superstar (and daughter of the Headcoach ) Jelic. The start of set one showed a fresh and concentrated Italian team that took the lead mainly by controlling big hitter Jelic 2-8. The Croatian Team had problems in the starting phase. Reception errors and a slow start of ace-player Barbara, where the main reasons for this bad start. Italy seemed to have a fresh and determined mind-set for today, playing concentrated and with intelligence 5-10. It was Italy that took the set easy (7-15). Set Nr.2 started in very equal way with both teams concentrated on every point 7-7. It was Italian setter #7 Cacciatori that showed here team the way in this part of the set but Italy's biggest problem of today (Jelic) got into the match better and better 10-12. Croatia struggled but could not survive the end of this set because of perfect distribution and court-organization on the Italian side 10-15. In the third set the fast lead for Italy was there in 3min 0-5. It was simply impossible for Croatia to get the necessary concentration back in the team. Headcoach Jelic tried all possible tricks to change the situation using time-outs and substitutions. The spirit on the Italian side was so determined today that the European Vice-Champion had not chances in this match. Headcoach Frigoni can look back on a successful event with his girls ranked better than ever before in a woman's World Championship.

    Maurizia CACCIATORI (Italian captain)
    Q : Congratulations on winning the 5th place. What is your feeling now?
    A : Just happy. I have no words to say other than that. 
    Q : Your team is one of the youngest teams among all. We can almost say your team is a junior team.
    A: That's right. And we will keep growing for higher places
    Angiolino FRIGONI (Italian head coach)
    Q : Please give us your comment on the victory of the 5th place.
    A: Our condition has become better and better through out this tournament. In addition, the match
    schedule was favorable for us. Croatia fought the last match against Japan yesterday ( started at 18:30),
    and had to fight the first match today ( started at 10:30). 
    Q : You've got the highest position ever for Italy. So what do you think you have to do to achieve an
    even higher place?
    A : It would be difficult to be among the top four (BRA, CHN, CUB, RUS). There is a big difference between
    the top level and second level.
    Irina KIRILLOVA (Croatian captain)
    Q : What do you think about the match?
    A : The match was not what I meant it to be. We tried to play well, but failed to do so. Several players are
    injured, but we are happy with the result. I'm satisfied with the match after the match against Japan. 
    Barbara JELIC (Croatian player) 
    Q : What do you think about the match?
    A : Some of our players are injured, and I didn't have a long rest to recover from the match against
    Japan(held at 18:30). I'm satisfied with the result of the match.
    Ivica JELIC (Croatian head coach)
    Q : What do you think about the match?
    A : This is the first championships for our team. We had three reasons to lose the match. One, Italian team
    played well. To, we didn't have time enough to recover from the previous match. The last, we have three
    players are injured.
    Q : Croatian team was third during the world championships in France, so what do you need to improve
    your quality?
    A : We have only 4,500,000 population in our country, and we may have talented people for volleyball.
    We have to improve our quality to go to higher places.
    Q : How do you improve?
    A : We have to try to avoid injuries, and play lots of matches against strong teams to get experiences. We
    would like to get together with the national team more often and practice together.

    Match Results (Adobe Acrobat .pdf file)

Match #48 - Pool G (Semi-Finals & Final)
3rd-4th Place
RUS beat BRA 3-1 (13-15, 15-6, 15-11, 15-13) - duration 1:52
11/12/98, start time: 13:00 - Attendance: 2,050

    FIVB Press Release
    Bronz medal for Russia !

    Third in '94 World Championship in Sao Paulo with the new Russia, and World Champion with USSR in the Beijing '90 World championship, Nikolai Karpol has obtained a new medal. But Brazil (severely beaten 0-3 by Oguienko's teammates ten days ago in Matsumoto preliminaries) didn't agree at all to let Karpol do. At the very beginning, as usual, Moroza's serves led Russia to a hopeful 8-1 : after the dark "China day" lived the day before in semifinal, Karpol's players seemed to want to move again all around. But one player, quickly, became the star of the court : Ana Moser. Prominent everywhere ! Attacks on the left wing, of course, floating serves, blocks, defences, she was taking in charge all the Brazilian game ! Nearly alone, she was responsible for an incredible equality at 13... before, a sudden Russian fear let Tichtchenko and Godina attack outside ! 15-13 for Brazil, nobody would have believed it fifteen minutes before ! But Brazilian problem was to own only Moser holding the game : setter Venturini did not look in a good mood in her combinations choices, little excellent left hander hitter Barros seemed quite tired in that eighth game in the competition... So, even if Godina was also fifty per cent, Artamanova - in a brilliant day for that bronze medal match -, Morozova's and Sokolova's serves were enough to catch the second and third sets for Russia. But the end of the competition means everyone is tired. Then, lonely Moser, once again, played fantastic in the fourth set in all the game skills, leading Brazil to a confortable 12-4. But, suddenly, somedy switched off the brazilian light. What happened with Sanglard's teammates ? They were no more able to play normal side-outs : with correct digs, they could not cross anymore the Russian block (Tichtchenko's, first of all). So Russia came back easily, Brazilian serves being unable to create pressure on the Russian receiving. And, at 13 all in that fourth set, Godina and Artamanova signed two ultimate and bronze blocks ! FIVB Press Release

    Ana SANGLARD (Brazilian captain)
    Q : What do you think about that last game ?
    A : "We had always played in tough conditions, we had always overcome them but not in that game. In
    order to have more experience, we would like to continue to play..."
    Fernanda VENTURINI (Brazilian setter)
    Q : What is your opinion about this bronze medal match ?
    A : "This was the last one in the international arena. Now, I will play in a National League ! "
    Bernardo REZENDE (Brazilian coach)
    Q : Give us your comments on that ultimate match.
    A : "It is hard to explain now. Our players missed fighting spirit against China and Russia: We live the
    changing point of generations. New players will join us and maybe a new coach will take over me. But it's
    not me to decide. If you burn out, you have to go."
    Nikolaļ KARPOL (Russian coach)
    Q : What do you think about this bronze medal ?
    A : "The match against Brazil was worst than the previous matches for all the players were tired. However,
    I'm satisfied with them : they played without getting injured until the end. After the '96 Atlanta Olympic
    Games, I've changed the composition of the team. Young players joined us and Oguienko was a trainer as
    well as a libero. I am also satisfied with that third place with a young team. Batoukhtina, one of the rising
    stars, has been absent from the team. If she comes back, she will work as a captain. Then, our team will
    be in a perfect shape, which will play the Sydney Olympic Games."

    Match Results (Adobe Acrobat .pdf file)

Match #50 - Pool G (Semi-Finals & Final)
1st-2nd Place
CUB beat CHN 3-0 (15-4, 16-14, 15-12) - duration 1:18
11/12/98, start time: 18:30 - Attendance: 7,300

    FIVB Press Release
    Defending champion Cuba keeps its crown !

    Cubas world title does not suffer any discussion : to watch how Torres was cool in middle block, as if she was playing against a school team, how star Mireya Luis - younger than ever with her 31 years old - was digging holes in the floor on her spikes, how captain left hander Regla Bell's serves were decisive at the right moments, how Fernandez was careful at the block and how the whole of the team was flying higher than 3,20 meters, no doubt for that World title, number fourteen since 1949, and third for Cuba after 1978 and 1990. But these three sets look sever for China : if, in the first set, China waited 0-7 after floating Costa's serves to react at least by Yan Li with a left wing hit and a block, helped by a Yongmei Zhu's pancake (3-7), Cuba was ont its way : too fast, too high, really an "acrobatic" team. But the scenario changed as soon as second set started : it was difficult to understand why China has changed its setter after the demonstration against Russia : instead of "stormy" offensive, new setter Yunying Zhu was much more classical (high sets on the wings) helping a lot the Cuban block. But it worked a little : with continual Yan Li's aces, an inversed cross on the right wing (at least !), and China was leading 8-5 in the second set.... before equalities until 14 all !But two captain Regla Bell's aces resolved easily the cuban problem : 16-14. Same scenario in the third set : Yu Sun's aces (in fact, that was a "Serving" final !) and Cuban attacks outside, (even if little Luis - 1,75m - blocked once with her forehead, for she jumped too high !), and China was suddenly taking the lead : 6-2, 10-6, 12-7, and everybody (included the spectators) was preparing himself to a fourth set. There were no fourth set : with three too classical sets in a row on Yue Sun at the left wing, that was a child game for Torres and Aguero to show three winng blocks models. And 12 all. And guess who conclude easily in less than one minute ? Of course, three Regla Bell's aces !

    Regla BELL (Cuban captain)
    Q : You are gold medal : what's your opinion about that final ?
    A : "That was a tough game ! Chinese serves were really strong and we had difficulties in receiving. We
    are so happy to win, for we were so tired !"
    Mireya LUIS (Cuban spiker)
    Q : A second World title...
    A : "I would like to continue volleyball - even if I am 31 one years old - to be at the top of the world. Am I
    too old now ? I have played for a long time and I can't promise I will play the Sydney Olympic Games. If I
    just can hold physically, I would like to support the Cuban team as long as possible, mais our team owns
    potentialities and I could accept to be just a substitute."
    Regla BELL (Cuban captain)
    Q : What was your best point against China ?
    A : "Our block and our attack !"
    Antonio PERDOMO (Cuban coach)
    Q : You are a gold medalist...
    A :"I knew that match won't be easy : China had beaten Russia very easily and had nothing to lose. But
    we had to maintain our title... Before, we were already beaten by China, but the victory over Brazil in
    semifinal had given us confidence : that's why we won that final ! The first set was easy for us and China
    recovered ability in the two following sets, but we produced good serves... enough to win. I don't know
    now, how long we will maintain these titles..."
    Lang PING (Chinese coach)
    Q : You are silver medalist...
    A : "I am happy to have played Cuba again, but it is so strong ! In the two first sets, we made too many
    mistakes. Little by little, our condition became better, but we were beaten by too powerful attacks. We had
    our chance at important moments... but we made mistakes in the second and third sets at these moments.
    If I changed my setter after Russia, it's because Cuba is different of Russia :Cubans jump very high and
    they play quicly, so I had to change my strategy. But it did not work."

    Match Results (Adobe Acrobat .pdf file)

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