Volleyball News

Osaka, Japan, September 15, 2017 – Luca Vettori topped all scorers with 22 points to lead Italy to a 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22) win over Japan in the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup at the Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on Friday.

Vettori charted 18 attacks, two blocks and two aces; then three other players scored in double-figures. Masahiro Yanagida scored 20 points, but it was only him and Issei Otake who produced good point-output for the Japanese side. Even though Japan played excellent defence on Italy, the latter made a lot of points from attacks, blocks and service.

Italy have won all four encounters against Japan at the World Grand Champions Cup. The last time Italy won over Japan in four sets was in 1993, when Japan experienced its first ever defeat in the history of the competition.

Japan led at the start of the first set, but Italy grabbed the lead as they converted a lot of points from the middle and the right side. A backrow spike closed the set at 25-23 in favour of the Europeans. Japan responded with a 25-22 win in the next set as they passed the ball efficiently, allowing setter Naonobu Fujii to distribute the ball well to his hitters. Italy obtained victories in the next two sets from points off the attack and service errors of Japan.

Italy coach Gianlorenzo Blengini: I have to say I’m happy about today’s result. It’s never easy to get a good result, but we were able to do it because of how we fought. But we also had to suffer in certain situations because Japan defended a lot. We knew they would do that and knew it would be a difficult match in which we would have to have patience because Japan defended hard and each rally lasted a long time. So we had to be patient and keep going. We found the right solutions in the match and fought even when we were down, and that’s one that makes me most happy.

Italy captain Simone Buti: We wanted to do well today and we were able to do so, so I’m very happy. It’s never easy to play a team like Japan, especially in Japan. We didn’t start well, as usual. It happened in the last two games and again today, but this time we could take the first set and this was very important for us and helped us to win. Japan never gave up and made it difficult to the very end, so congratulations to them. Now we must think about our remaining games and try to get good results. When you play five matches in six days, it’s very difficult for us physically but also mentally. You have to concentrate in each match. We’ve had to play some very difficult matches so far and we have more difficult matches to come against France and USA. So we have to forget about today’s match as quickly as possible and think about the next one.

Japan coach Yuichi Nakagaichi: For the first time in this competition, we were able to win a set. That’s good but I feel that we could have done better. I don’t think Italy played sophisticated volleyball today. They made mistakes but we didn’t take advantage of them as much as we could, so that’s disappointing. For the first time in this competition, (Masahiro) Yanagida’s service functioned well, so we were able to disrupt Italy’s service reception and that’s why we were able to compete in the match.

In the first half, we couldn’t compete, so I thought about changing (Issei) Otake. (Satoshi) Ide’s footwork was really good today and that contributed well to our defence. But Italy’s service was very strong and they were able to take points off us, which was why we weren’t able to win. We’ve done a lot of practice on jump serves this season but we still struggle to receive them in matches.

Japan player Shuzo Yamada: I was able to play because Ishikawa couldn’t, so it was just like the World League matches in Takasaki. I just wanted to play my own game and try to show the coach what I am capable of. We managed to win one set, but that wasn’t good enough. We really want a win, so it’s a shame. I could feel the strength of the Italian team, but I really feel I can compete with teams like that. At certain times today, we did that, but we need to go a little further and score those extra points.

Japan player Masahiro Yanagida: We took the lead at various points in today’s game, but couldn’t go beyond that to win. When I look back, we gave away too much on situations where we should have scored. We have to do something about this because the result says everything.

Japan player Issei Otake: Overall, I think we demonstrated Japan’s tenacious brand of volleyball. We won one set but couldn’t convert that into a win. We should have scored from more balls. If we’d been more accurate, we might have been able to win the game, so we must try to improve our accuracy. Ishikawa wasn’t there but it doesn’t matter who is on court; all the players are capable. I think in the first two matches, I wasn’t at my best and my weak points showed. Today, when we had the lead I was determined not to lose it. After scoring my first spike, I didn’t feel nervous as I had in the first two matches and thought I would be able to play well. So, I think I did OK and was able to show what I can do.


Related links of AVC

AVC Website: click www.asianvolleyball.net
AVC Facebook: click www.Facebook.com/AsianVolleyballConfederation
AVC Twitter: click: https://twitter.com/avcvolley
AVC Instagram: click: https://www.instagram.com/avcvolley/?hl=en
AVC Youtube: click: Asian Volleyball Confederation