Nakagaichi hails historic Japan victory


Hiroshima, Japan, October 10, 2019 - Japan claimed a first win in 10 years over Russia at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup on Thursday, Yuji Nishida racking up an impressive 22 points as the hosts sealed a 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 25-16) victory at Hiroshima Green Arena.

Japan coach Yuichi Nakagaichi: “To be honest being able to beat Russia is something that I am very surprised about. I hear it was the first time since 2009, but today throughout the match we controlled the game. In addition to the other players, (Yuji) Nishida finally showed his strength - faultless clean play. His run-up speed, his jump, and his decisiveness - in all of this he showed something more than he did before. So I hope he will play like this tomorrow and thereafter. Also, regarding (Tatsuya) Fukuzawa, who came on for (captain Masahiro) Yanagida, he also kept things tight for the team as well and also showed his strength. He showed his patience in tough moments and kept scoring in tough moments. And (Kentaro) Takahashi also continues to be on a good streak, I have no complaints about his attacking work - that’s how good he is at spiking. He’s battling against his own physical condition, kind of walking on a tightrope in each match, but we still find his performance encouraging. He has an ability to reinforce our side-out capabilities.”

Japan captain Masahiro Yanagida: “The opponent had height, and in the second set we had a tough situation, but in the third set we were able to regain our rhythm so I’d like to thank (Tatsuya) Fukuzawa and others, who gave me great support. We didn’t come out very well in the first set, so that’s something to reflect upon and we’d like to prepare well for the next matches, when hopefully we can play better.”

Russia coach Tuomas Sammelvuo: “Very simply, the opponent was better at volleyball. Quality of volleyball means every touch on the ball. We knew that they would defend a lot of balls. Service and reception, again, the opponent was a lot better. And also mistakes. Mistakes to win a few more sets. But we can’t finish this game like this, the fourth set. We gave up. We gave up, and that’s not possible. For the fourth set to finish like this, this is one thing that is not ok.”

Russia captain Sergey Grankin: “It’s difficult to know what to say right now. I’m thinking about it and it’s hard to find the words right now. Maybe in one word, ‘disappointing’. It was a very disappointing match. I think the key point was that we lacked stability on our side. We were leading but then suddenly we were in disarray. We couldn’t keep our advantageous position, which is why we couldn’t win. Especially in the third set, we were ahead but lost the set, which was very bad. There’s no point trying to find who to blame in the team, the team as a whole lost, and as a team we have to try to find our way forward.”