Milan takes center stage for Final Round starting Wednesday


Brazil and Russia are two of the six teams which have advance to the Final Round that begins Wednesday in Milan

Milan, Italy, October 8, 2014 - The final stage of the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship Italy 2014 has finally arrived as six teams have survived two rounds of 24 teams for the chance to meet in Milan for the Final Round October 8-10.

The Final Round will have the six teams paired into two round-robin groups of three teams with the top two squads advancing to the crossover semifinals on October 11. The medal round matches are scheduled for October 12.

On the opening day of the Final Round, Brazil meets China at 17:30 at the Mediolanum Forum in a Pool H match. In the second match of the day, Italy hosts United States at 20:00 in Pool G. Dominican Republic (Pool H) and Russia (Pool G) are idle on the first day and make their debut in the Final Round on Thursday.

"This is a beautiful time if you're fan for volleyball," USA coach Karch Kiraly said. "This is a great week to follow and it should be wonderful volleyball to watch."

Wednesday, 8 October:
17:30 - Brazil v China
20:00 - Italy v USA

Thursday, 9 October:
17:30 - China v Dominican Republic
20:00 - USA v Russia

Friday, 10 October:
17:30 - Brazil v Dominican Republic
20:00 - Italy v Russia

Pool G: Italy - United States
Italy and United States have met on seven previous occasions at the World Championship, with the most memorable being Italy's 3-2 victory in the 2002 World Championship title match for their only gold medal in the event.

Italy have won all of their last four World Championship encounters after three straight USA victories to open the head-to-head series. Team USA's last victory over Italy came at the 1986 World Championship, when they won 3-1 in the first round. Their last meeting in a major competition came at the 2013 World Grand Prix. Italy won that match in five sets.

Italy have won their last four matches in this tournament and also 10 of their last 11 at the World Championship. Their only defeat in their last 11 World Championship was their 3-2 defeat against Dominican Republic earlier in this tournament to end the first round in Rome. Italy finished in the top five in each of the previous four world championships.

Italy's Nadia Centoni is the second most prolific spiker in this tournament at a 49.1 percent success rate. Only Team USA's Kelly Murphy (52.4 percent) has outspiked Centoni so far. Murphy and Kimberly Hill have paced the American office with 99 points each.

United States have yet to win their first gold medal at the World Championship. Their best finish in the competition is runners-up twice, in 1967 and 2002.

USA won their first eight matches in this tournament before losing 3-0 to Brazil as both teams utilized many of their reserves in starting roles as both had already earned qualificatoin to the Final Round.

The USA, which have won 249 overall sets in World Championship history, will avoid ending their 2014 World Championship as they did in 2010 - losing their final three matches of the tournament.
Pool H: Brazil - China
Brazil and China have met six times at the World Championship with China beating Brazil four times (1974, 1978 and twice in 2002) and Brazil winning twice (1994 and 2006). Brazil defeated China 3-2 in their 2006 meeting after trailing two sets. Brazil have won all of their last 14 meetings with China at the World Grand Prix, World Cup and Olympic Games (July 2008 – August 2014).

Brazil are still unbeaten at the 2014 World Championship, winning all nine matches. Brazil have won 30 of their last 32 world championship matches, only losing in the finals of the 2006 and 2010 World Championships to Russia. Brazil have won at least two sets in each of their last 36 world championship matches. They can grab their fifth top 4 finish after 1994 (2), 1998 (4), 2006 (2) and 2010 (2). Since 2006, Brazil have won all of their world championship matches against teams representing Asia.

Brazil's Thaisa Menezes is this competition's best blocker with an average of 1.03 per set. Fabiana Claudino is in fifth place with an average of 0.78 per set. Brazil also have two players in the top 10 of best diggers: Camila Brait in first place with an average of 5.00 per set and Jaqueline Pereira De Carvalho Endres in fourth place with an average of 3.56 per set.
China had their longest winning streak (8 matches) since 1982-1990 (20 matches) ended after falling to hosts Italy in their last second round match in Bari. It was China's first defeat at the 2014 World Championship. China are looking for their first top 4 finish since 2002, which would be their sixth top 4 finish in total. China have won the World Championship twice (1982 and 1986). China have lost only two of their 10 world championship meetings with South American sides. Both defeats came against Brazil.

Three players of China are in the top 10 best spikers in the competition. Chunlei Zeng is in third place with a success rate of 47.37 percent, Ting Zhu in sixth with 45.42 percent and Ruoqi Hui in seventh with 44.5 percent.


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