The silhouettes of volleyball foreshadow another great day of competition to come.
Lausanne, Switzerland, September 27, 2014 –
Seven teams will put undefeated records on the line on the fourth competition day of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014, while other countries scramble for the remaining nine spots into the second round.
Host Italy, Dominican Republic and Germany in Pool A have earned spot into the second round, while No. 1 Brazil has classified into the second round from Pool B. Two-time defending champions Russia and the United States are slotted into the second round out of Pool C, while China has leaped into the next phase from Pool D. Italy, Brazil, China and Russia are the only nations left yet to lose a set at this world championship.
Along with the top teams looking to maintain their spotless records and carry over the best record possible into the second round, several key matches take place on the Saturday in determining who will move on to the second round.Pool ACroatia needs win over Tunisia to better chances of advancement:
With a win against Tunisia, Croatia will qualify for the second round. After beating Argentina in the opening match, Croatia failed to win their meetings with Italy and Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic beat Croatia 3-2 which marked the first time in 14 world championship matches Croatia lost a match in five sets. Croatia can lose three world championship matches in a row for the second time in the competition. In 2010 they were beaten by United States, Thailand and Germany. This will be the first world championship meeting between Tunisia and Croatia. These teams met at the 1999 World Cup with Croatia beating Tunisia in straight sets. Croatia will play their first world championship match against a team representing Africa. Tunisia are yet to win a set at the World Championship. So far, they have played 17 world championship matches which all ended in straight set defeats. Tunisia have played most matches at the World Championship without winning a set. Egypt follow with 16 matches. The 26 points they scored against Germany in the third match round were their fewest in a world championship match since the introduction of the rally point system.Dominican Republic seeks fourth straight win:
Dominican Republic have won all three matches at the World Championship so far. They can win four matches at a single world championship for the first time. Including their last match at the 2010 World Championship, Dominican are now on a four-match winning streak (team record). Two of their three matches at the 2014 World Championship went to five sets. Before, they had never played more than one five-setter at a single world championship. Argentina have lost all three matches in this year's competition taking only one set in their first match against Croatia. They are currently on a six-match losing streak, their longest ever in the competition. They have lost nine of their last 10 matches at the World Championship. Yael Castiglione celebrates her 29th birthday on the day of the match. Dominican Republic and Argentina have met once at the World Championship. In 2002 Dominican Republic beat Argentina 3-0. Their most recent meeting at a major tournament came in 2011. At the 2011 World Cup, Argentina proved too strong for Dominican Republic (3-1).Italy unblemished record to be tested by Germany:
Italy is one of the four teams (Brazil, China and Russia) that have yet to lose a set at the 2014 World Championship. Italy have won their last five world championship matches in straight sets. They can win six in a row for the first time since 1998-2002: eight consecutive victories in straight sets. They can win their first four matches of the competition for the second time after winning their first five in 2002. After losing their 2014 opener against Dominican Republic in five sets, Germany have bounced back by beating Argentina and Tunisia in straight sets. This is the fourth consecutive World Championship in which Germany have started their campaign with two victories and one defeat. Germany have only failed to win a single set in three of their last 25 world championship matches. Italy and Germany will meet for the fifth time at the World Championship. Germany won their first two meetings: 3-1 in 1978 as West Germany and 3-0 in 1986 as East Germany. The last two meetings were won by Italy: 3-0 in 2002 and 3-1 in 2010. Both teams met recently at the World Grand Prix with Italy beating Germany in five sets after trailing 2-0.Pool BBulgaria remains in contention for second round, Cameroon next:
This will be the first meeting between Bulgaria and Cameroon at the World Championship. They have also never met in a major tournament. After losing their first two matches in this year's competition, Bulgaria bounced back with a win against Turkey (3-2). They can win two five-setters in a row for the first time since 1982-1986. They will play their 90th match at the World Championship against Cameroon, which have yet to win a world championship match as Bulgaria will meet an African opponent for the first time in World Championship competition. They could become the first African team to win a match at the World Championship. Cameroon have the second lowest points-ratio in the competition so far with 0.679. Only Tunisia have a lower points-ratio with .449. In their opener against Canada, Cameroon took their first ever set at the World Championship. Kenya (6) and Nigeria (1) are the only other African teams to have won at least one set. At the 2014 World Grand Prix Bulgaria won all three matches against teams representing Africa. They beat Kenya twice (3-2 and 3-1) and Algeria once (3-2).Serbia positioned for second round, meet Canada Friday:
Serbia will play Canada for the first time at the World Championship. They have also never met in a major tournament. Serbia have won all three matches at the 2014 World Championship and can win their first four for the third consecutive time (2006 and 2010). They won their third match in straight sets against Cameroon and can win two consecutive world championship matches by 3-0 for the first time since 2006-2010. Serbia have won a total of 74 sets and could become the 18th team to win at least 75 sets at the World Championship. Canada have won only one of their last 12 world championship matches (3-1 v Cameroon in the first round). They failed to win a single set in eight of those matches. A win against Serbia could give Canada their second win at the 2014 World Championship. In their previous two participations, 2002 and 2010, they managed only one victory in total. The last time Canada took two victories at a single World Championship was back in 1990. Serbia have won their last two world championship matches against NORCECA sides: 3-0 against Costa Rica (2010) and 3-1 against Cuba (2006). Canada are on a 15-match losing streak against European opposition in the competition (1978-2014), winning only eight sets in these matches.Turkey in need of a win against Brazil:
In 126 world championship matches, Brazil have never met Turkey. Turkey is one of the three teams competing at the 2014 World Championship to have never met Brazil before at the worlds, with the others being Croatia and Tunisia. Turkey took only one win (3-0 v Canada) in their three matches at the 2014 World Championship. They lost their opener 3-1 against Serbia and their last match against Bulgaria 3-2. Turkey have never lost two consecutive world championship matches in five sets. Turkey have failed to win a single set in only one of their last 16 world championship matches. Brazil have won their first three matches at the 2014 World Championship in straight sets. The only time this century they won four consecutive world championship matches in straight sets was in 2010. Brazil can win their 80th match at the World Championship. Only Russia (117) and Japan (84) have won more. Their last four defeats in the competition all came in five sets, dating back to 2002. Brazil and Turkey recently met at the World Grand Prix with Turkey winning in five sets. Turkey have won both world championship meetings with South American sides. They defeated Peru twice: 3-2 in 2006 and 3-0 in 2010.Pool CMexico and Kazakhstan in search of first win:
Mexico and Kazakhstan will meet for the first time at the World Championship. However, Mexico and Kazakhstan met at the 2014 World Grand Prix with Kazakhstan winning the match in straight sets. Kazakhstan have lost all their five previous matches against NORCECA teams at the world championship. Mexico have lost all three matches at the 2014 World Championship and are now on a 13-match losing streak in the competition. Their last victory was against West Germany in 1982. In those 13 matches, Mexico took only three sets. Before this negative streak they had never lost more than four in a row. Kazakhstan is one of three teams that have yet to win a set in this tournament, the others being Tunisia and Cuba. In fact, Kazakhstan have lost their last five world championship matches in straight sets. Kazakhstan have lost 12 of their 13 matches at the World Championship, the only exception being a 3-0 triumph over Cameroon in 2006.Netherlands closing in on advancement, big test against Russia:
Russia are unbeaten in their six world championship meetings with Netherlands. The Dutch took only two sets in these matches. Brazil and Russia are the only two teams to have met Netherlands at least six times at world championships and never lost. These teams have met 29 times at major tournaments (including European championships) with Netherlands claiming only three victories: 3-1 at the 1995 European Championship, 3-2 at the 2007 World Grand Prix and 3-2 at the 2009 European Championship. Russia have won their last 16 matches at the World Championship. The Netherlands will clinch a place in the second round unless they take zero points from this match versus Russia and the Mexico v Kazakhstan match produces such a result that the winner of that match can still overtake the Dutch in the table. It is the third time that Russia have produced a winning streak of at least 16 in the competition. They set the competition record at 29 straight victories from 1952 to 1962, when they appeared as Soviet Union. Russia have not dropped a set in this tournament and are one of four teams not to drop a set in their first three matches. Russia history at the World Championship has been stellar as they have always finished in the top three, except for two successive participations in which the came sixth (1982 and 1986). Netherlands' straight sets defeat against USA snapped a three match winning streak at the World Championship for the Dutch, a string that included victories over Kazakhstan and Thailand in this tournament. Netherlands have never finished higher than seventh in the competition. They achieved that in 1998.Thailand have tall order with United States:
For the fourth successive time at the World Championship, United States have opened their campaign with three successive victories. Team USA have won 12 of their last 13 first round matches at the World Championship. They have earned a berth into the second round after dropping only one set in their first three matches in the tournament. United States have yet to win their first world title and have not won a medal in the competition since 2002. Thailand took their first victory at the 2014 World Championship against Mexico. It marked their sixth world championship victory in total. Thailand can win two consecutive world championship matches for the second time in team history after achieving this feat in 2010 (against Kazakhstan and Croatia). If they win the first set, they equal their world championship record of winning four successive sets, a mark previously established in 2010.United States and Thailand will meet for the second time at the World Championship. Their only previous meeting ended in a 3-1 victory for United States in 2010. United States beat Thailand 3-2 at the 2014 World Grand Prix in August. Thailand's only victory over United States at a major tournament came at the 2009 World Grand Prix (3-2).Pool DAzerbaijan and Belgium meet in key match:
Azerbaijan enters the match with a 2-1 record and four points, while Belgium is in fifth place with a 1-2 record and three points. This will be the first meeting between Azerbaijan and Belgium at a major tournament. Azerbaijan are winless in their world championship matches against European opposition (5 matches). Belgium have lost their last seven world championship matches against CEV nations. Their last victory in this respect was against Austria in 1956 (3-0). Azerbaijan won their first round match against Puerto Rico in five sets. They are unbeaten in all their three five-setters at the World Championship beating United States (2006), Japan and Puerto Rico (both 2014). Azerbaijan can equal their team record of winning back-to-back world championship matches following their last match in 2006 and first in 2014. Belgium have now lost two in a row after winning their opener against Cuba by 3-0. A defeat by Belgium and a Puerto Rico win over Japan could eliminate Belgium from second round contention and a top 16 finish. Belgium's best final ranking in the competition is 13th place from 1956.Puerto Rico challenge Japan in key match for advancement:
Puerto Rico is in fourth place in Pool D with four points, just one point ahead of fifth-place Belgium. Japan, now 2-1 with seven points, have won two in a row after losing their opener in five sets to Azerbaijan. Japan are guaranteed to reach the second round with a victory. Other results could also suffice to seal their berth, depending on the outcome of the other matches in this group. Japan finished in third place at the World Championship four years ago. Against Azerbaijan, Puerto Rico played their first five-setter in the competition since 2002 (21 matches without a 5-setter). It was their second loss at the 2014 World Championship. They won five sets in their last two world championship matches. This followed 12 matches in which they took only three sets. Puerto Rico and Japan have never met at the World Championship before. Their only previous meetings at major tournament came at the 2009 and 2012 World Grand Prix with Japan winning both matches 3-0.China versus Cuba in a top versus bottom pool match:
China is 3-0 with nine points without dropping a set, while Cuba has gone 0-3 and have yet to win a set. China and Cuba will meet for the seventh time at the World Championship. China won four of the previous six matches (1982, 1986, 2006 and 2010) and Cuba two (both in 1998). In 1986 and 1998 these two teams were competing in the final of the World Championship. China took the gold medal in 1986 (3-1) and Cuba won the title in 1998 (3-0). The two world championship finals played between these nations ties the record of finals between Brazil and Russia. China are one of four sides that have not dropped a set after three matches in this tournament, the others being Italy, Brazil and Russia. China have already won more group matches in the first round of the World Championship than four years ago, when they managed to win only two of their five at this stage. The last time China managed to win three or more successive world championship matches in straight sets was 1990 when they won six in a row without dropping a single set. Cuba have lost their first three matches in this tournament and are guaranteed to miss out on the second round if they lose this match by 3-1 or 3-0. Cuba's worst finish at the World Championship is 12th place, which was their final ranking four years ago. Cuba have lost five consecutive world championship matches. Their record losing streak in the competition is six straight from 1970.