Hiroshima, Japan, October 11, 2019 - Japan edged a thrilling encounter with Egypt 3-2 (25-14, 18-25, 25-23, 28-30, 15-13) at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup on Friday, Yuki Ishikawa registering 24 points as the hosts triumphed at Hiroshima Green Arena.
Japan coach Yuichi Nakagaichi: “In the first set we were able to win easily. I don’t want to say we became complacent, but maybe after that set the accumulated fatigue of these three matches came to us all at once, so the match became very tough. We could possibly meet Egypt at the Tokyo Olympic Games, so we really wanted to beat them on this occasion. In the end we were able to win, which was very good. In this competition Egypt have been doing very well, and I think they are a team that has intrinsic capabilities. They’re not just tall but they are also good in defence and they kept their fighting spirit until the end, so I think Egypt today were worthy of praise. Regarding Japan, everyone in his respective way persevered to the very end. Challenges stood out in today’s match - I think the block defence wasn’t quite functioning like it did in previous matches. That was partly because the Egyptian offence was fast and partly because they were tall, and their middle attacking was also good. So, yes, we had quite a tough time in this match.”
Japan captain Masahiro Yanagida: “I think we had a tough situation throughout this game. Egypt had the momentum but we were able to win, so I think that means a lot to us. We have a day off now and then three more matches, which we now want to prepare well for."
Egypt coach Gido Vermeulen: “I want to congratulate Japan for their win. They played an amazing first set with incredible serve pressure, and we could not handle them. But we also knew they could not play three sets like that, with this pressure, so we stayed calm for the second set and had a good match-up and played good volleyball. I think in the third set we lost the game. We had the game in our hands and we lost the set because we could not control our emotions. We got too negative - instead of helping each other we got negative and we lost the game. In the fourth set we brought in new players with new energy, and they were amazing. They fought for every ball, they made it very difficult, and they could win the set. And the fifth set is always a lottery. We played a close game and Japan (won) with the help of the fantastic public - I have to say that, the public was amazing, to support their team but also to support volleyball. We lost the game but we enjoyed it because it was beautiful circumstances to play in.”
Egypt captain Ahmed Abdelhay: “I would like to congratulate the Japanese team. We played a very good match. We weren’t able to win but we did our best. We have five players who didn’t play before at the World Cup and didn’t play in front of this big a crowd. We were sometimes better than Japan, but the spectators’ support was one of the reasons (they won), they gave them a hand to beat us. I think this was a good match for us and bad luck for us, and also good experience for the new players in the team to play in the next match here and in the next World Cups.”