Lausanne, Switzerland, October 5, 2014 – The final second round day for the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 will confirm the sixth and final position into the Final Round taking place in Milan next week.
In addition, the group winner for Pool E and F will be determined Sunday with two key head-to-head matches. China (6-0) and Italy (5-1) have 16 points apiece and the winner will claim the top spot in Pool E. Dominican Republic (5-1, 12 points) have solidified the third spot.
Pool F will have a battle of undefeated juggernauts vying for the top spot. The world’s No. 2 United States (6-0, 18 points), the only team to have earned maximum points throughout the tournament, will face two-time defending Olympic Games champion Brazil (6-0, 17 points) on Sunday, and both are seeking their first-ever World Championship title.
Also, in Pool F, Russia (3-3, 10 points) and Serbia (4-2, 11 points) will play head-to-head on Sunday to determine the final team into the six-team Final Round. Russia, the two-time defending World Champions, must win 3-0 or 3-1 to advance to the Final Round. Any other result will send Serbia into the Final Round. Russia have reached the podium in each of the last six World Championships (gold as Soviet Union in 1990, gold as Russia in 2006 and 2010, and bronze in 1994, 1998, 2002). Russia have earned a medal in 13 of the previous 16 World Championship editions.
Italy host China for top billing out of Pool E – China (6-0 second round record, 8-0 overall record) and Italy (3-0 second round record, 7-1 overall record) both have 16 points in the second round and the winner of the final match in Bari will claim the top spot in the group going into Milan. China have won five world championship matches against Italy, and Italy have won once. Italy's sole win came in their most recent match-up, as they beat China 3-1 in the 2002 semifinals. None of the previous six meetings ended in a five-setter, with four 3-0 and one 3-1 win for China, and one 3-1 win for Italy. Italy are among the three teams in Pool E qualifying for the third round, alongside Dominican Republic and today’s opponents China. Italy have won seven of their first eight matches in a world championship for the second time, after having done so in 2006. Italy have won at least two sets in each of their last 14 world championship matches, their longest such streak in the history of the tournament. Italy have won their last nine matches against Asian opposition, of which eight in straight sets. The only Asian nation to claim a set from Italy in that span was China in 2002 (3-1 Italy win). On Saturday, China became the first nation to beat Dominican Republic at this World Championship. Still, they gave up sets for only the second time in this tournament (3-2 win). China have won their last eight world championship matches, equalling their second longest streak ever, set in 1974-1978. Only in 1982-1990 they had a longer run of victories (20, incl. 2 finals). China have beaten their last four European opponents in straight sets. One one occasion they had a five-match straight set winning streak against CEV teams at world championships – in 1974-1978.
Dominican Republic look to get back on track versus Japan – Japan (2-4 second round record, 4-4 overall record) is out of the Final round mix, while Dominican Republic (5-1 second round record, 7-1 overall record) have advanced to Final Round and will finish third in Pool E regardless of this match. This will be the second world championship meeting between Dominican Republic and Japan. In 1998, Japan beat Dominican Republic in straight sets in the second group stage. Their last two meetings at major tournaments ended in straight set victories for Japan. At the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2012 World Grand Prix, they won 3-0 in the preliminary round. Dominican Republic's only previous win against Japan at a major tournament came in 2008. At the World Grand Prix, they won 3-0. After winning their first seven matches of the 2014 world championship, Dominican Republic suffered a defeat against China: 3-2. Despite this defeat, Dominican Republic secured a passage to the third round. This match against China was their fifth five-set match in the tournament this year, most of all nations. Dominican Republic’s winning streak ended at eight matches. Before this streak they won only 10 matches in total and never more than two in a row at world championships. Japan lost 3-0 to Italy on Saturday and are out of contention for the third round. This was Japan’s first straight sets defeat since 2006. They won at least one set in each of their previous 18 matches until Saturday. Japan have played four five-set matches at this world championship, outright second-most of all nations. Only today’s opponents Dominican Republic have played more (5).
Germany and Azerbaijan look to end World Championship on a victory - Both Germany (1-5 second round record, 3-5 overall record) and Azerbaijan (2-4 second round record, 4-4 overall record) are outside of the Final Round and will be battling to finish higher in the standings. Germany could move from fifth to fourth with a three-point victory, while Azerbaijan could move as high as fifth with a victory. Germany have won both previous world championship meetings with Azerbaijan, both as unified Germany. In 1994, they won 3-1 in the Last 16 round and in 2006 3-0 in the first group stage. Their last meeting at a major tournament came over five years ago, when Germany beat Azerbaijan in straight sets in the second group stage of the 2009 European championship. Saturday’s 3-0 win over Belgium ended a four match losing streak, their longest losing run as unified Germany. Germany have lost both matches against fellow CEV nations in this tournament. Since 1974, they have experienced one three-match losing streak against European sides in a single tournament – in 2002. Germany have lost every match in at the 2014 world championship in which they gave up a set. Their three wins came in straight sets. Azerbaijan beat Croatia on Saturday (3-1) to claim their fourth victory at the 2014 World Championship. These four wins already equal Azerbaijan’s record for a single tournament. In 2010, they also managed to win four matches. Azerbaijan can win back-to-back matches for the second time ever at world championships, after beating Puerto Rico 3-0 in their last match of the 2006 tournament and Japan 3-2 in the first of the 2014 edition.
Croatia, Belgium seek final win – Croatia (2-4 second round record, 4-4 overall record) can earn a team-best fifth win with a win over Belgium (1-5 second round record, 3-5 overall record), while Belgium have already out-produced their only other World Championship appearance. It is possible Croatia could still reach as high as fourth in final Pool E standings, while Belgium will look to avoid finishing eighth in the group where they now sit. Croatia and Belgium have never played each other before at the world championships. It will also be their first ever meeting at a major tournament. Croatia have lost their last two world championship matches. They will look to avoid equalling their longest ever losing run of three matches, set in the first round in 2010. Croatia have an even balance against fellow European nations at world championships, winning three and losing three. All defeats came in straight sets, however none of the wins did. Croatia can claim their fifth win at the 2014 World Championship. This would be an outright record for them, outperforming their four-win effort from 1998. Belgium have lost all three second round matches thus far, of which two in straight sets. Still, they have three wins in 2014, two more than in their previous appearance (1978) combined. Belgium are one shy of conceding 50 sets in world championship matches. They won 29 sets themselves.
Battle of undefeated teams of Brazil and United States to end second round – The final day in Verona brings together two undefeated foes in Brazil (6-0 second round record, 8-0 overall record) and the United States (6-0 second round record, 8-0 overall record). The winner will take the top spot out of Pool F heading into the Final Round. Brazil is ranked No. 1 in the world and USA follows immediately as No. 2. This will be the eighth time these teams meet at the world championships, and for the fourth successive worlds in a row. Of the previous seven, United States won four and Brazil won three. Brazil have won the last two meetings, in 2010 (second round) and 2006 (first group stage). Before these two Brazil wins, United States won four consecutive meetings. Their very first meeting in 1960 ended in a 3-0 win for Brazil. No world championship meetings between these teams ever went to five sets. Brazil and United States also played two matches against each other at the 2014 World Grand Prix. Brazil won both meetings, by 3-0 and 3-2. On Saturday, Brazil beat Russia in a replay of the 2006 and 2010 world championship finals. The two finals were decided in Russia’s favour. Brazil have won 29 of their last 31 world championship matches, only losing those two finals in 2006 and 2010. Brazil have won at least two sets in each of their last 35 world championship matches. Brazil’s are undefeated against NORCECA nations in their last six attempts in the competition, with their last defeat coming against USA in the 2nd group stage in 2002. United States won 3-0 against Serbia to maintain their maximum score. It was their fifth straight-sets win in eight matches in this world championship. United States registered the maximum score after eight matches for the first time in the team’s world championship history. In 2010, they won the first 10 matches, but this included two 3-2 victories. United States need one set to reach the mark of 250 at world championships.
Serbia, Russia in head-to-head battle for last Final Round spot – Serbia (4-2 second round record, 6-2 overall record) have their Final Round destiny in their own hands, needing to just defeat Russia (3-3 second round record, 5-3 overall record) in either three or four sets to advance and knocking out the two-time defending World Champions from advancement. Serbia and Russia have met each other once at the world championships. In the second round in 2010, Russia beat Serbia 3-0. Serbia amassed a total of just 39 points in that match. Last year, these two teams also went head-to-head at the European Championship. In the semifinal, Russia beat Serbia in straight sets and went on to win the tournament. Serbia need to win two sets against Russia to qualify for the third round. On Saturday, Serbia lost to United States in three sets. It was their first straight sets defeat at the 2014 World Championship against three straight set victories. Serbia have beaten all three European opponents at the 2014 World Championship – 3-1 v TUR, 3-2 v BUL, 3-0 v NED. Two-time defending champions Russia have lost three of their last four World Championship matches, as many as in their previous 38 matches combined. The last time the nation lost three in a four match span was in 1982-86 as Soviet Union. Russia have conceded at least one set in each of their last five world championship matches. This is their outright longest streak in the history of the tournament (RUS and URS). Russia have won at least one set in each of their last 42 world championship matches. As Soviet Union, one longer streak occurred – 52 matches in 1952-1974.
Turkey look to keep win streak going, Kazakhstan seek to end their losing streak – Turkey (2-4 second round record, 4-4 overall record) have won their last two matches, but Kazakhstan (0-6 second round record, 2-6 record) will want to end the second round with their first win since the first round. Turkey and Kazakhstan have never met at the world championships. Both previous meetings at major tournaments ended in straight set wins for Turkey, as they beat Kazakhstan twice in the preliminary round of the 2008 World Grand Prix. Turkey have won their last two matches at the World Championship. They can win three in a row for the first time ever in the competition. Turkey are out of contention for the third round, but with four victories in the bag already, they can equal their highest number of wins in the first two rounds combined (5, 2010). In this tournament, Turkey face their first AVC opponents in Kazakhstan. In both 2006 and 2010, they met three AVC nations, on both occasions winning the first and losing both the second and third. Kazakhstan have failed to win a set in the second round thus far – 3-0 defeats against Brazil, Serbia and Bulgaria. Kazakhstan have played seven matches against CEV nations at world championships, losing all of them. Only in the first of these seven, they managed to win a set (3-2 v NED in 2006). The last 10 world championship matches involving Kazakhstan have ended in straight sets (W2-L8).
Bulgaria attempts for winning record, Netherlands goes for win to end tournament – Bulgaria (2-4 second round record, 4-4 overall record) can move into fifth place in the final Pool F standings with a win and Turkey all while having more wins than losses in the final record. Netherlands (1-5 second round record, 3-5 overall record) will finish seventh in Pool F regardless of the outcome of the match, but a victory would give them four in this World Championship. Bulgaria have won all three previous world championship meetings with Netherlands by 3-0. Only against Cuba (5), Brazil (4) and Russia (4) have Netherlands lost more world championship matches in straight sets. For Bulgaria, three 3-0 wins against specific opponents is already a team record. This will be their first world championship run-in in nearly 40 years. They last met on 22 October 1974 in Monterrey, Mexico. Bulgaria beat Kazakhstan 3-0 on Saturday to claim their third straight sets victory in five matches. Bulgaria can claim their fifth win at the 2014 world championships, equalling their third-highest number of wins (also in 1970, 1982 and 2002). Only in 1974 (8) and 1956 (6) they had more wins. Bulgaria have lost four of their last five and eight of their last 11 matches against fellow CEV nations. In this world championship, they beat Turkey and lost to Russia and Serbia. On Saturday, Netherlands lost 3-1 to Turkey. The Dutch have lost all of their three second round matches in 2014. In four of their last five matches in this tournament, Netherlands won the first set. In the end they won only one of these five. In all world championships since 1998, Netherlands managed to win at least one match in the second round/second group stage.