Italy, China, the United States and Russia have all guaranteed their places in the second round of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Women’s World Championships today, winning their third straight matches in Japan.
Italy beat Cuba and China saw off Canada in Pool B to book their places in the last 16, while the US defeated South Korea and Russia triumphed over Azerbaijan in Pool C.
Only the US failed to win in straight sets, conceding one in their match as they won 19-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-18 at the Kobe Green Arena.
Russia’s match was the first of the day in Kobe and marked the sixth time in six matches that they have beaten Azerbaijan in international competition.
Nataliya Goncharova scored 17 points to top the charts for Russia, though it was Azerbaijan’s Polina Rahimova who won the individual battle, scoring 19 for her country.
She is also currently the top scorer in the whole tournament with 66 points.
America, meanwhile, with their win over South Korea extended their unbeaten run against the country to 11 matches.
Kelly Murphy was their top scorer with 18 points, although South Korea’s Jeongah Park won the most points of anyone today with 26.
The wins by the US and Russia mean they cannot be surpassed in the top two places in Pool C and, therefore, their places in the second round are guaranteed.
The situation is the same in Pool B as China and Italy’s wins at the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Centre mean they cannot be caught by either Canada or Cuba, who sit bottom of the table with zero points each from three games.
It means the four teams, Italy, China, Russia and the US, all join The Netherlands and Serbia in the next round, who secured their spots yesterday.
They made it through by beating Cameroon and Brazil respectively.
With 10 second round spots still up for grabs, the pool phase is due to continue tomorrow.