The Mediolanum Forum in Milan will complete the semifinal brackets in two key matches on Friday
Milan, Italy, October 10, 2014 – The FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 third round concludes today at Mediolanum Forum in Milan with Italy and Brazil already into Saturday’s semifinals, but key matches lie ahead for both squads today in order to earn the top seed in their groups.
Brazil (1-0, 3 points in Pool H) challenge the 2014 surprise team of Dominican Republic (0-1, 1 point in Pool H) in the first match of the day at 17:30, while Italy (1-0, 3 points in Pool G) host Russia (0-1, 0 points in Pool G) at 20:00.
Dominican Republic must defeat Brazil to advance to the semifinals, otherwise China (1-1, 2 points) will advance to the semifinals. Russia must defeat Italy 3-0 or 3-1 to advance to the semifinals and keep alive their quest for three consecutive World Championship titles. United States (1-1, 3 points in Pool G), which is off today, will advance to the semifinals should Russia not pull off the 3-0 or 3-1 win.
The third phase has two pools of three teams playing a round robin over three days. The top two teams in each pool advance to the crossover semifinals on Saturday, followed by the medal matches on Sunday.
October 8: Italy def. USA 25-23, 25-22, 25-20
October 9: USA def. Russia 25-19, 25-23, 15-25, 25-23
October 10: Italy versus Russia, 20:00
October 8: Brazil def. China 25-19, 25-16, 25-15
October 9: China def. Dominican Republic 22-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 15-12
October 10: Brazil versus Dominican Republic, 17:30
Pool G: Italy – Russia
Italy beat United States 3-0 in their third round opening match. Italy out-spiked (52-42) and out-blocked (9-2) team USA in that match. Four players of Italy reached double figures: Valentina Arrighetti (10), Carolina Del Pilar Costagrande (13), Nadia Centoni (14) and Antonella Del Core (15).
Russia lost to United States 3-1 and used a 15-1 run when down 13-5 in the third to avoid being swept. Russia’s Tatiana Kosheleva was the match top scorer with 25 points and her teammates Nataliya Goncharova and Ekaterina Gamova added 17 and 14 points. Russia’s net defense produced a 17-7 block advantage, while the USA serve held a 5-1 ace margin.
The Russians must defeat Italy 3-0 or 3-1 to have a chance to advance to the semifinals and keep alive the dream of a third consecutive World Championship title and eighth overall. Russia’s chances of finishing in the top four for the 14th time now hinge also these same circumstances.
Italy are 9-1 at the 2014 World Championship and their only loss was a five-set tiebreaker to Dominican Republic to end the first round in Rome. Italy are attempting to win their second World Championship with the first coming in 2002 when they also won a team-best nine matches in a single World Championship.
Russia are 6-4 in this World Championship, and all four losses have come in the last six matches since having their 17-match win streak snapped the USA to end the first round in Verona. It is the first time they have lost four of six matches since 1982. They have never lost five out of seven matches.
Italy are winless in their world championship matches against Russia. Russia beat Italy three times in straight sets (1986, 1994 and 2006) and once in five sets (2002). Russia also beat Italy in their most recent meeting at a major tournament – 3-1 at the 2014 World Grand Prix. Italy's last victory over Russia at a major tournament came at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Italy are unbeaten in their last seven world championship matches against fellow European sides. Russia have lost only three of their 39 matches against teams from Europe at the World Championship.
Russia have taken at least one set in their last 44 world championship matches. As Soviet Union, one longer streak occurred – 52 matches in 1952-1974. The last team to keep them from scoring a set was China in the 1998 semifinal.
Pool H: Brazil versus Dominican Republic
Brazil opened the third phase with a convincing 3-0 victory over China by scoring 25 points more than China, outspiking (49-33) and outblocking (11-2) them. Thaisa Menezes, Jaqueline Pereira De Carvalho Endres and Fernanda Rodrigues all scored 15 points. With that victory, Brazil stayed the only unbeaten team in this year's competition with 10 victories so far. In 12 of the 16 previous editions the winner of the tournament did not lose a single match.
Dominican Republic started their third round by winning the first two sets against China, but their opponent caught fire and came back to win a thrilling five-set match. Best scorer of the match was Dominican Republic’s Bethania De la Cruz with 39 points, and she now has a tournament-leading 233 points over 10 matches.
Brazil and Dominican Republic will meet for the third time at the World Championship. Brazil beat Dominican Republic twice in straight sets (1974 and 1998). Dominican Republic are also eying their first victory over Brazil at the World Grand Prix and World Cup losing all 13 matches and taking only five sets.
Brazil are unbeaten in their last seven world championship matches against NORCECA sides, conceding only two sets. Dominican Republic lost their first three meetings with South American sides (including Brazil), but won their last two (both against Argentina).
Brazil, which have never won the World Championship despite their successes in other major tournaments, have won 31 of their last 33 World Championship matches, only losing the 2006 and 2010 final. They have won at least two sets in each of their last 37 matches at the World Championship, their longest streak in the competition.
Dominican Republic have played seven of their 10 matches to the full five sets, winning the first four tiebreakers. However, the NORCECA team have dropped their last three matches which all come in five sets. They could become the first country to lose four consecutive world championship matches in five sets in a single edition. Peru lost three five-setters in a row in 2006.
Dominican Republic have won at least two sets in their last 11 World Championship matches. Before this streak. They only succeeded to win two sets in 12 of their previous 38 matches in the competition.
Dominican Republic will play their 50th match at the World Championship, the 18th team to reach this milestone.