Team Korea opened the weekend with a match against Turkey. Turkish FIVB Hero Neslihan Darnel dominated on court throughout the match, delighting her fans with 19 points and leading team Turkey to a 3-1 victory (25-18, 28-26, 20-25, 25-13).
The most anticipated encounter of the day was between hosts Japan and Germany, both determined to qualify for the Grand Prix Finals. Germany’s captain Margareta Kozuch fought with her team till the end for a well earned victory over the host team 1-3 (22:25, 12:25, 25:17, 16:25).
The following day team Germany maintained their winning streak with a straight sets win over Korea. “We just want to have fun”, said Margareta Kozuch after the match. “Everyone else is focused on the Olympics and we are not, as unfortunately we didn’t make the cut. We will have more time to relax after the tournament. But until then we will give 100% on the court”.
Later in the evening Turkey showed their calibre, overcoming Japan in front of the local volleyball fans. With 16 points, FIVB Hero Neslihan Darnel was once again among the best scorers of the match, giving her team a cherished spot in the final six.
Fans were looking forward to two spectacular performances on Sunday, and our FIVB Heroes didn’t disappoint! In Germany’s match against Turkey there was no deceiving Margareta – Germany winning 3-1. But their three splendid victories of the weekend weren’t enough for her and team Germany to book their spot in Ningbo. With 18 points overall they lost out on 6th place in the final standings to team Cuba.
Japan’s 3-0 victory over Korea didn’t help them make it onto the list of finalists either. The hosts of the final preliminary round finished the tournament in 9th place in the final rankings.
But however thrilling and nail-biting that weekend was, the most interesting part of World Grand Prix 2012 is yet to come! Stay tuned to follow those FIVB Heroes who made it through to the final.