SPORTS: Brazil rips Italy at World Volleyball in Japan……

Brazil rips Italy to tell world who’s number one

Hamamatsu, Japan, November 3, 2010 –

Brazil ripped Italy (25-16, 25-19, 25-7) to finish Pool B undefeated at the 2010 FIVB Women’s World Championship at Hamamatsu Arena in Japan on Wednesday.

In one of the most hyped matches of the tournament, Brazil came out loaded with rocket fuel, while Italy looked weary from a late five-set loss to the Czech Republic on Tuesday night, after another marathon on Saturday. Inspired by what has become a “home-court advantage” in Hamamatsu, home to about 20,000 Brazilian-Japanese, Brazil pummeled Italy with cannonating blasts in a relentless onslaught that confirmed their status as the world number one.

In the first set, Brazil jumped on Italy early 3-0 and 6-1. Soft touches by Antonella Del Core and Francesca Piccinini moved Italy to within two at 9-7. But Jacqueline crushed windmill spikes that ignited a large crowd in yellow cheering “Bra-zil, Bra-zil.” Brazil’s tattoo’d titan Menezes Thaisa wacked a spike to go up 12-9, while great digs by Paola Cardullo kept Italy within two at 13-11. Boosted by the crowd, Sheilla and Jaqueline soared through the air to smack Brazil into three point leads, and Jaqueline again exploded from the backcourt to lift Brazil to 19-14. With Italy expecting rockets, Brazil fooled them with a soft touch that caused a head-on collision between Cardullo and Simona Gioli. Woozy, Gioli sat down, and Brazil again caught Italy off guard with a delicate tip, as Brazil finished an an awesome set 25-16.

The Brazilian carnival continued to rage early in the second set. Brazil went up 8-5 as Fabiana’s serve handcuffed Piccinini. Thaisa body-slammed rival spiker Gioli to go 11-7, knocking the Italian ace back to the bench for a second breather. With Brazil running Italy off the court at 14-8, an over-pumped Jaqueline served long, but Natalia kept the party going with a rocket from the right. Not even Eleonora Lo Bianco could save Italy from the onslaught, as Brazil threw fuel onto the fire to go 16-9. Gioli came back in and blocked Sheilla, and Italy closed to 16-11. But Valentina Arrighetti snuffed out their rally by stepping on the service line. Jaqueline’s accurate smash down
the line made it 19-14, and Thaisa’s mis-hit caught the line anyway on a day when everything was going Brazil’s way. Undaunted, Italy rallied back with two points on Lo Bianco’s serve to 20-17. Natalia capped a long rally to go 22-18, and Fabiana’s block and Natalia’s swat made it set point. Though Thaisa netted a serve, Nathalia jammed a spike off Gioli’s fingers for a 25-19 win.

In the third set, Gioli again hit the ground, unable to handle a ball greasing her fingers, as Brazil surged ahead 4-1. Fabiola slid toward the scorer’s table for a miraculous save, throwing the ball high above mid-court, where Jaqueline exploded from deep to score, and then Jaqueline launched another missile that scorched the court on impact, to take Brazil up 8-3. Fabiola’s block earned a 13-5 lead and a bear hug from teammates, while fans kissed in the stands. Gioli almost seemed dizzy, unable to play balls she normally commands, and even Lo Bianco couldn’t save a ball, as Brazil stormed ahead 19-5 for a stranglehold on the match. After 10 straight points by Brazil, Del Core finally feathered one over the Brazilian wall to go 20-6. But Jaqueline engraved her hand on a ball to send Brazil to 23-6, and Thaisa added her own stamp to go 24-6, and Brazilians cried in joy after a 25-7 shellacking of Italy. Emerging as the star of the group, Jaqueline continued to sky above the ground as fans waved Brazilian flags in the stands in victory celebration.

Brazil and Italy will both advance to the second round in Nagoya to face teams emerging from group play in Matsumoto.

Brazil coach Jose Guimaraes:

“Of course I’m very happy with my team. We did very good teamwork in serve, defense, blocking, and counter-attack. It wasn’t a perfect match, but almost. Natalia played very well this night, I think she had 25 points. She’s a young player, she can still improve more and more with more experience in the future. We have to think about London 2012. We have to think about the other group, which is important for our team in this moment. Jaqueline also did a very good job of
reception this night.”

Brazil captain Fabiana:

“Our serve was very good today, and we could also make use of blocks after service. Tactically, we did very well today. I am very satisfied with our play today.”

Brazil player Natalia:

“Tonight I did a very good job, like I did against the Netherlands. I did my job almost perfectly.”

Italy coach Massimo Barbolini:

“This evening they played very very strong. They gave a lot of pressure with service, with blocking, with defense, with everything. We have played them twice recently, and they have won both times 3-0. We have to say that now Brazil is stronger than Italy. Now we have to change absolutely our way of playing, our attitude in the court. We can try to win all the matches in another pool, it will be very very difficult, but we can try and we can do it. It doesn’t matter how you arrive, third or fourth. The important thing is we lost two matches, and we can’t afford to lose anymore.”

Italian captain Eleonora Lo Bianco:

“Every team is tired. It’s not the reason why we played like this. We are able to play even if we are tired.”

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