Cordoba / Boca del Rio, Mexico, July 22- Russian head coach Vadim Pankov considers his team to have regrouped well to win a thriller tie-break over Japan 3-2 (32-30, 25-19, 23-25, 23-25, 15-12) in Saturday’s second semifinal of the FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in Cordoba, Mexico.
Vadim Pankov, head coach of Russia: “I congratulate Japan, they played really good tonight and their defense was remarkable putting pressure to my players, they are very intelligent. For me the first set was the key to this match, our performance was very well at the start. Russia just weakened for a moment, and it was enough to reach a tie-break. The fifth set was the best; I am glad that the team regrouped to finish with the victory. This was a great spectacle for the crowd”.
Maria Vorobyeva, captain of Russia: “I consider that our team spirt helped us to win this match, it was crucial because it was a lot of pressure in the end. I believe we could have won the third and fourth set but we lost focus, finally the match was decided in the tie-break. We expect that the match against China will not be easy, we will try to stick with our coaches’ game plan and concentrate well to finish with the gold”.
Kiyoshi Abo, head coach of Japan: “Our performance was not so bad, we performed like we normally do but Russian blockers were very hard to break and their strong spikers challenged us the entire match. Under these circumstances we needed to adapt faster”.
Tamaki Matsui, captain of Japan: “My teammates and I were only thinking of one thing, playing together to put up a good fight. We played as we usually do, but it was a tough match and our defense needed to be sharper. I hope we could play the same for the next match, but finishing on top”.