Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, September 24, 2017 – After five days of tough battle at the packed Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium, Korea and Thailand secured their tickets to the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Japan 2018 on Sunday as both teams finished in the top two at the single round-robin Asian Qualifiers Pool B encounters which were also jointly contested by DPR Korea, Vietnam and Iran from September 20 to 24.
Thailand and Korea did not lose a set to their respective rivals en route to the final-day clash between them. Ahead of the Sunday’s climax, both sides have collected the similar 9 points from three wins in a row. However, due to the better points ratio, Thailand stayed on top of the overall standing, with Korea in second position. However, Korea stunned Thailand in straight sets 25-22 25-16 25-21 on Sunday to reign supreme in this top-flight competition.
DPR Korea, whose latest performance at the FIVB World Championship dated back to 1986 in Czechoslovakia (at that time), where they finished a disappointing 14th place, have disappeared from the world competition for 31 years. In the Pool B clash in Nakhon Pathom this time, the DPR Koreans came within a whisker of making the cut for the Japan Finals, only going down in straight sets to much stronger Korea and hosts Thailand which completely smashed their daydreams.
Vietnam and Iran also were down in the dumps when their chances of qualifying for the World Championship Finals for the first time ever became an impossible mission. Both sides lost all matches they had competed. On Sunday, the final day of the top-tier competition, Vietnam came from behind to beat Iran in four-setter 24-26 25-22 25-17 25-19 to taste their first win and the last one as well in the tournament.
For Thailand, the Japan 2018 Finals will be their fifth appearance in the World Championship. They made their debut effort at the 1998 edition in Japan, where they finished 15th. Four years later, Thailand left Germany in disappointment following their below-par 20th finish at the 2002 World Championship. In 2010 in Japan, Thailand returned with their best-ever 13th position in the World Championship and in 2014 in Italy, the Thailand’s second-string team finished 17th place.
Korea made a successful comeback as they failed to make their mark at the Asian Qualifiers in China in 2014, beaten by China and Kazakhstan to miss the cut for the Italy Finals.
Korea made a clean sweep in Pool B with 12 points from straight four wins. Thailand came in second place with 9 points from 3 wins against one loss. DPR Korea finished third with 2 wins against 2 losses. Vietnam and Iran returned with the fourth and fifth places respectively.
At the end of the last match between hosts Thailand and Korea on Sunday, FIVB Representative Mr Shanrit Wongprasert, himself the AVC Secretary-General and the Member of FIVB Board of Administration, handed Korea and Thailand the Boarding Pass to the 2018 Women’s World Championship in Japan.
A total of 24 teams will compete at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Japan from September 29 to October 20, 2018. Hosts Japan and 2014 world champions USA have automatically qualified for the quadrennial tournament. Four teams from Asia (the top two teams apiece from Pool A in Almaty, Kazakhstan and Pool B in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand) will test their mettle against the world’s top teams in the world meet.
September 20, 2017
Korea b DPR Korea 3-0 (25-17 25-23 25-19)
Thailand b Iran 3-0 (25-14 25-15 25-13)
September 21, 2017
DPR Korea b Iran 3-0 (25-23 25-11 25-18)
Thailand b Vietnam 3-0 (25-17 25-17 25-17)
September 22, 2017
DPR Korea b Vietnam 3-0 (25-21 25-22 25-20)
Korea b Iran 3-0 (25-16 25-18 25-20)
September 23, 2017
Korea b Vietnam 3-0 (25-21 25-13 25-16)
Thailand b DPR Korea 3-0 (25-21 25-21 25-19)
September 24, 2017
Vietnam b Iran 3-1 (24-26 25-22 25-17 25-19)
Korea b Thailand 3-0 (25-22 25-16 25-21)
POOL B FINAL RANKING
1. Korea …………qualified for World Championship Japan 2018 Finals
2. Thailand ..…….qualified for World Championship Japan 2018 Finals
3. DPR Korea
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