• Kyodo

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Japan defeated Venezuela in straight sets to improve its record to 5-2 at the FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Cup on Thursday.

Captain Kunihiro Shimizu had a team-best 18 points as the host nation cruised to a 33-31, 26-24, 25-19 victory in Osaka to improve to 14 points in sixth place in the standings at the qualifying competition for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The unbeaten United States maintained the top spot with 21 points after beating Iran 3-1 for a seventh straight win.

Last year’s world champion Poland also has seven wins and stayed in second with 20 points after beating Egypt in straight sets.

Italy and Russia improved to 6-1, while Argentina triumphed to raise its record to 5-2.

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