Hong Kong, China, June 6, 2019 - The Netherlands and Japan get things started in Hong Kong on Thursday. Their match will be followed by the encounter between pool hosts and reigning Olympic champions China and Italy.
Japan - Netherlands (June 6, 2019)
· Japan and Netherlands have each won 10 of the 20 matches against each other at world level major tournaments (FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World Grand Prix and Grand Champions Cup).
· With a win, Netherlands would lead the head-to-head against Japan for the first time. Netherlands lost their first four encounters versus Japan and have never been level with them until their 3-2 win at the 2018 World Championship.
· Netherlands could win three successive matches against Japan at world level for the second time, after three victories from 1998 to 2003.
· Japan scored 57 points against Netherlands in last year's 3-0 (57-75) loss at the Volleyball Nations League, the fewest points for Japan in the 2018 VNL, together with 57 points versus Serbia and China.
· Japan suffered a 3-0 defeat in both of their VNL matches in week 3, against China and Italy.
· Japan could now lose three successive Volleyball Nations League matches for the first time.
· The last time Japan failed to win a set in three successive world level major competition matches was at the 2015 World Grand Prix (against United States, China and Brazil).
· Yuki Ishii (12) was the only player to reach double figures in scoring for Japan in the 3-0 defeat against Italy on Wednesday.
· Ishii (120) is Japan's top scorer in the 2019 VNL. In 2018, Ishii (157) missed out on one point to become Japan's top scorer in the competition (Ai Kurogo 158).
· Netherlands lost their last three VNL matches: 3-1 against Poland and Italy and 3-0 against China on Wednesday.
· Netherlands could now equal their longest losing streak in the competition: four defeats in a row from June 2018 to May 2019.
· In that run came also the only time Netherlands suffered consecutive 3-0 defeats in the VNL: against Brazil in their final match in 2018 and against Serbia in their 2019 opener.
· Netherlands could lose four consecutive matches within a single world level tournament for the first time since the 2013 World Grand Prix.
· Annick Meijers was Netherland's top scorer on 14 points in the defeat against China, bringing her total points to 54 in the 2019 VNL.
· Nicole Oude Luttikhuis is Netherland's top scorer in the 2019 VNL on 87 points, including 14 from aces.
China - Italy (June 6, 2019)
· Italy have won their last five matches against China at world major tournaments (FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World Grand Prix and Grand Champions Cup).
· Italy could beat China six times in a row for the first time at world level. They had lost the first five encounters at major tournaments.
· Italy could become the fourth country to win at least six successive matches against China at world level, after Brazil, Cuba and United States.
· In 2018, China lost to Italy at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League (3-1), and twice at the 2018 World Championship (3-1 in 1st round, 3-2 in semi-finals).
· China's last world level victory over Italy was a 3-1 win at the 2017 World Grand Prix.
· China have won their last six Volleyball Nations League matches, since a 3-1 defeat in their second match.
· Before this run, China did not have a winning streak of more than two VNL matches.
· Each of China's last five VNL victories were in straight sets. No other team has claimed more 3-0 wins in the 2019 VNL (Turkey also 5).
· China could win six consecutive world level major competition matches in straight sets for the first time since the 2005 World Grand Prix.
· Zhu Ting was China's top scorer in the 3-0 win over Netherlands on 18 points, bringing her total to 49 points in the tournament.
· Italy won 15 of their last 16 Volleyball Nations League matches, including seven of eight in 2019. Their only defeat in this run was a 3-2 loss against United States on 29 May 2019.
· Italy have won multiple sets in each of their last 19 VNL matches (W17-D2). The defeats in this run came in five sets against Japan (29 May 2018) and United States (29 May 2019).
· Italy lost just one of their six VNL matches against AVC opposition, the five-set defeat against Japan in Hong Kong on 29 May 2018.
· Italy scored 16 points from blocks in the 3-0 win over Japan on Wednesday, including a match-high five by Anna Danesi. The complete Japan team scored three points from blocks in the match.
· Paolo Ogechi Egonu scored 20 points in the win over Japan to bring her tally to 60 points in the 2019 VNL. Last year, she was Italy's top scorer on 180 points.
· Indre Sorokaite is still Italy's top scorer in the 2019 VNL on 130 points, but she scored only four points in the win over Japan as she was rested most of the match.
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