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Olympic Women's Volleyball: Three favorites in quarterfinals, Brazil beats China

(Xinhua)

10:36, August 04, 2012

LONDON, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- The United States, world's No. 1, and European powerhouses Russia and Italy entered the women's volleyball quarterfinals of London Olympics, after registering their respective fourth victory on Friday.

The Americans eased past weary Serbia in straight sets to stay at the top of Pool B, which the reigning European champions lost hope to go forward with four losses.

Russia upset Japan 3-1 to dominate Pool A, while Italy beat Algeria 3-0 to take the second place. The north Africans is set to fight for honor in their last London match against Dominicans.

As one of the highlights of the day, Brazil rebounded from two straight-set defeats to overpower high-spirit China in a five-set thriller.

Brazil won the match 25-16, 20-25, 25-18, 28-30, 15-10 with the stunning performance of Sheilla Castero, who claimed 23 points to her name. China's opposite hitter Zeng Chunlei, 22, became a sparkplug off the bench to take 24 points for China.

The defending champions Brazil hence have held their opportunity to advance into the knockout stage with two wins and two losses.

Despite the loss, China have ended the drought of winning a set from Brazil the for years, which the head coach Yu Juemin believed meant a lot to built up the team's confidence to keep on fighting.

"We lost, but in a honorable way. My girls have fought so hard for every point, never giving up. That's what I expected from them and that's the key for us to move on," said Yu.

"But we had problems too. First, we failed to cope with Brazil's powerful service, and then, we need to be composed under pressure. We are too eager to win in the fifth set and the mentality has distracted the girls' concentration at the court," he said.

China will take on South Korea, who was defeated by Turkey 2-3, but was ranked the second in Pool B before China.

Yu said mentality was the decider of the game, though China held a better win-loss record against South Korea.

"South Koreans showed high spirit in last game against Brazil, and so they win. But we need to be more cautious," said Yu.

South Korea, China, Turkey and Brazil now are competing for the rest three of four places in the quarterfinals from Pool B.

In the last match of the day, Dominican Republic stunned Great Britain 3-0 to take the fourth place of Pool A, still have chance for a quarterfinal berth. There seemed little possibility for the host nation to bring more surprise than their Olympic debut, as their last rival is Japan, who will miss no chance for a victory to secure their position at the quarterfinals.

Twelve women's volleyball teams compete in London. China play in the same pool along with Brazil, U.S., Turkey, Serbia and South Korea. Italy, Russia, Japan, Algeria, the Dominican Republic and host Britain make up the other six-team pool. The top four teams to emerge out of each pool will advance to the quarter-finals.


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