Japan beats Egypt in opener


Yusuke Ishijima scored a team-high 23 points Friday as host Japan managed a narrow full-sets win over Egypt on the opening day of the Men’s Volleyball World Championship.

Japan, ranked 10th in the world, wasted a match point in the third set before edging the 15th-ranked Egyptians 25-13, 25-21, 24-26, 24-26, 15-12 in their Pool A opener at Saitama Super Arena.

“I’m so relieved we won, and there is a big difference between winning and losing the opening match,” said Ishijima, who made his world championship debut in front of his hometown crowd.

In other action, reigning world and Olympic champion Brazil dropped the first set to Cuba 25-21 but bounced back to win the next three sets 25-19, 25-15, 25-22 in Pool B. Bulgaria upset world No. 2 Italy 20-25, 26-24, 25-16, 16-25, 15-8, while Venezuela beat the United States 25-18, 20-25, 25-21, 25-18 in Pool C. Serbia and Montenegro beat Russia in three sets in Pool D.