Trieste, Italy, October 2, 2014 – In a very tight match Japan beat Germany 3-2 (23-25, 26-24, 25-19, 16-25, 15-11) in the second round of Pool E at the 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championship at PalaTrieste on Thursday.
- The last World Championship match between Germany and Japan ended 3-1 in 2002. However, Japan have won six of the last seven main tournament matches against Germany, including their last in the 2013 World Grand Prix (3-2).
- Germany have lost four straight World Championship matches. Japan have lost three matches in this tournament, all 2-3.
- Top scorers of today’s match were Japan’s Saori Sakoda and German captain Margareta Kozuch with 21 points each, followed by Germany’s Maren Brinker with 19.
The first set had a very balanced start, with the German spikers striking hard but committing several mistakes, like sending two straight serves in the net. The first two points of advantage were in Japan’s making 12-10, but the small lead did not last long. Germany ran ahead 16-14. The nine-centimeter advantage in medium height helped the Germans up to 21-14, when Sakoda Saori stopped the row of five German straight points with an impressive spike kill. Japan fought hard for every ball and edged up almost to parity 22-23, but a soft spike from Maren Brinker closed the set for Germany 25-23.
The second set was a nail-biting point-by-point affair again. A spectacular reverse dunk by Arisa Takada chartered a 4-3 lead for Japan. Germany’s Maren Brinker was hard to control, but Japan showed some outstanding defense. The 159-centimer tall Hitomi Nakamichi reaped roaring applause with a five-meter dive along the net and brought a well-earned point to Japan. Nevertheless, nobody managed to build a gap. Two straight tallies by Christiane Fürst achieved the first two-point lead 21-19 for Germany, but Japan immediately equalized and at 23-all earned the first set-point, at 25-24 the second. A long spike from German captain Margareta Kozuch gave the set victory to Japan 26-24.
Japan kept momentum in the beginning of the third set and immediately raced to a 5-0 lead. Heike Beier scored the first German point at 1-5. Japan kept a safe advantage up to 10-4. A reverse quick pass by setter Kathleen Weiss, killed by 192-centimeter tall Christiane, helped shorten the distance to 8-10. But the Japanese digs, pancakes, extension rolls and dives covered the whole court and it was difficult for Germany to pierce a hole. Saori Sakoda’s devastating spike kill scored 18-13 for Japan. Mai Yamaguchi and several German mistakes then chartered a 21-14 lead. Kozuch’s spirited attacks were not enough to change the course of the set that Japan’s Takada clinched 25-19.
Germany played more aggressively in the fourth set. The Japanese players did not let the game slip out of hands, but at the second technical timeout, Germany had built a 16-13 lead, soon widened to 19-13. Japan’s attacks just could not slip past the German overpowering blocks, three by Silge Wiebke alone. Germany earned the fifth set with a 25-16 score. Best hitter of the set was Margareta Kozuch with 10 points.
The fifth set was played on knife’s edge. Two consecutive second-line spike kills from Sakoda created an 8-5 lead for Japan. Germany crept up to 8-9. But Yamaguchi closed the set and the match 15-11.