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Volleyball: U.S. advances to quarterfinals after upsetting host China
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10:26, August 16, 2008

The confident American women volleyballers, led by their China-born coach Lang Ping, have left the the overwhelming unison of "Go, China" behind to capture a sweaty 3-2 win over China on Friday night.

As top four of the six-team group will survive, the United States has collected three wins after beating China to advance to the quarterfinals, while the host's fate is still pending for a record of two wins and two losses.

China's head coach Chen Zhonghe attributed the loss to the inexperience of his players to deal with the crucial points under the "tremendous" pressure in front of more than 14,000 wild fans.

"It's a tough match, I think we tried our best but we still lost. We lacked control of our frame of mind, especially in the fourth set. Many of the key points were not handled well," said Chen, adding the "home advantage" sometimes could work in an opposite way.

"I can feel the cheers of home fans are too much for the players, especially when we were falling behind. They got in fluster and failed to concentrate," he said.

However, the Americans have prepared for the passion of the Chinese audiences and obviously Lang played a key role.

"She (Lang) told us the crowd would be crazy tonight and that they would be cheering both for and against us. We were ready for it, " said the American spiker Heather Bown.

Twelve teams are competing in two groups in the preliminary round with top four finishers from each group reaching the quarterfinals. China will guarantee a quarterfinal berth if they can beat Japan, the last opponent in the group.

"We desperately want to beat Japan, but as for lots drawing (for the quarterfinals), it's hard to tell," said Chen Zhonghe.

In another two matches of Group A, three time Olympic champion Cuba toppled Japan in straight set to top the group and clinch a quarterfinal ticket in advance.

Poland crushed Venezuela 25-11, 25-19 and 25-10, keeping its hope of entering the next round alive with a 1-2 win-loss record, while the Venezuelans, losing all their four preliminaries so far, already lost its chance to go further.

In Group B, the situation has already turned clear.

Brazil, Italy, Russia and Serbia, finishing top four after Friday's matches, all went to the final eight club with one match not yet played, while Algeria and Kazakhstan lost chances to go further after four losses in a row.

World No. 1 Brazil and Athens silver winner Russia both scored a comfortable 3-0 victory over Kazakhstan and Algeria respectively, while Italy ranked the second of the group after an effortless straight-set win over Serbia.


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1 China 25 9 5 39
2 USA 14 12 18 44
3 Germany 8 2 4 14
4 South Korea 6 8 3 17
5 Italy 6 4 3 13
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