The Japan women’s volleyball team defeated Germany in a spirited five-set match at Yoyogi National Gymnasium on Thursday. The hosts won the FIVB Women’s World Cup fourth-round match 25-20, 25-23, 27-25, 25-17, 15-12.
Yukiko Ebata led Japan with 25 spike points and Saori Kimura had 22.
“Today’s match was one we couldn’t lose; a very important one,” Ebata told reporters. “We did well today and I think we have to win tomorrow against the United States. We’ll do our best against them.”
Risa Shinnabe, Kimura and Erika Araki each had three blocks., while Nana Iwasaka amassed two service points.
“Up to the second set Germany’s serve was really hurting us,” Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe said. “After the second and third, I switched out (Mai) Yamaguchi for Shinnabe and our serve and receiving became better.”
Said Kimura: “I was really happy to win, and every player had the same feeling that we really had to come together and attack on the court. Thinking about never giving up is key to winning today.”
In other matches Thursday, Serbia put on a fine display of attacking volleyball as the European champion overcame Argentina 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-23) on the penultimate day of the women’s FIVB World Cup at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Serbia improved their record to 4-6, while Argentina dropped to 3-7.
Jovana Brakocevic picked up the Most Impressive Player award after top-scoring for Serbia with 17 points. Milena Rasic and Brizitka Molnar added 11 and 10 respectively. Lucia Fresco was the top scorer for Argentina with 12 points. Serbia outblocked Argentina 8-5 and outserved them 4-1.
Elsewhere, Beijing Olympic silver medalist USA knocked Italy off the top of the points table and booked their ticket to the 2012 London Olympics after handing the defending champions their first defeat of the tournament with an outstanding 3-1 (25-23, 25-15, 22-25, 25-21) win at Yoyogi National Stadium.