Italy, USA seek to write history in Girls' U18 Worlds final


Italy players gather to celebrate around their sidelined teammate Giorgia Frosini who missed out on the tie-break of their great win over China in the semifinals of the 2018 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.

Ismailia, Egypt, September 13, 2019 - A total sweep by USA of Brazil and an incredible comeback by Italy over China here, on the banks of the Suez Canal, in Friday evening's semifinals, confirmed the finalists of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship.

Italy will be going for an unprecedented third straight title, after their gold medals in 2015 and 2017. China have four world titles and Brazil three, but no one has ever done three in a row.

USA seek an elusive first gold in their third final, after back-to-back silver medals in 2013 and 2015.

Either way, history will be written in Ismailia Saturday evening.

Final on Saturday:
USA v Italy
Bronze medal match on Saturday:
Brazil v China

Italy can also become the first country in history to win a boys' and girls' youth world title in the same year, after their success in the 2019 FIVB Boys' U19 World Championship in Tunis a fortnight ago.

Elena Oglivie goes low for the reception against Brazil, as USA advance to the final of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.

Friday morning in Ismailia, Yoshino Nishikawa and Rino Murooka scored 18 and 17 points respectively to lead Japan in a 3-1 (27-25, 23-25, 25-17, 25-23) win over Russia.

After the previous evenings devastating defeat to Brazil in the quarterfinals, Russia seemed to lack the spirit or even the will to keep on fighting. Though they dominated the game in the blocking departement (Elizaveta Kochurina bagging five and Elizaveta Popova another four), it was Japan's usual defending skills that were key to the Asian side's win.

Japan's Natsumi Kondo gets blocked by Russia's Valeriia Gorbunova at the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.

A little later, Romania shut out Peru 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-17), powered by Francesca Alupei who scored a match high 17 points, including four aces, three blocks and a 64% (9/14) attacking efficiency.

Andreea Murar sets the ball against Peru as Romania advance to contest 5th place at the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.

Japan and Romania will meet on the closing day of the competition, Saturday, to decide 5th place. Russia will play for 7th place against Peru.

Hosts aim at 9th place in the world
Over in the capital Cairo, hosts Egypt stunned Bulgaria 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-15, 25-20), despite the high scoring of 20 points by the World Championship's overall top scorer Maria Yordanova. Egypt, led by Farida Elhenawy who scored 14 points, took advantage of the Balkan side's 37 unforced errors.

Egypt now have a shot at 9th place, when they meet Turkey on Saturday.

Turkey pulled off the other amazing total comeback of the day, downing Argentina 3-2 (15-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21, 15-12).

Derin Ezgi Tasdemir was Turkey's best scorer on 16 points, but Bianca Cugno had the match high of 20 for Argentina.

Earlier in the day, Korea had beaten Puerto Rico 3-1 (25-15, 21-25, 25-16, 26-24).

Korea were seemingly on the way to wrap up the fourth set comfortably when they reached match point at 24-20, but Puerto Rico rallied to draw level before the Asians eventually got the sideout and Choi Jeongmin got the ball on the floor for the last point in the game.

The Asian side will meet Canada Saturday for 13th place, after the North Americans edged Thailand 3-2 (9-25, 25-23, 25-22, 20-25, 15-10). It was Thailand's second tie-break defeat in two days, after their loss the previous night to hosts Egypt.

Hannah Duchesneau scored a match high 17 points for Canada, who overwhlemed Thailand with their blocking (including four each by Duchesneau and Jenna Pollock.

Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship
Volleyball TV