World Grand Prix Pool F: Thailand relegates hosts Japan to second position with a hat-trick!

The first day’s encounter between Japan and Dominican Republic was the main attraction for FIVB Heroes fans with captains Yoshie Takeshita and Milagros Cabral de la Cruz going face to face. Despite the absence of star Saori Kimura, the hosts triumphed with a straight sets 3-0 victory (25-17, 25-13, 25-18).

Thailand was up against Puerto Rico in a match in which both teams knew each other from their encounter in Pool A during first weekend of competition. In that match-up, Thailand came out on top (3-0) so Puerto Rico was looking forward to taking revenge. It was not to be however wit the Asians winning again, this time 3-1 (25-18, 19-25, 25-11, 25-19).

With such a positive start, Thailand gained in confidence and overcame Dominican Republic in straight sets (25-14, 25-22, 25-19) while Japan won against Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-16) on Saturday. With those results, the deciding of the first place would be held on Sunday with the hosts expected to have all the support. 

On the last day, the fans were looking forward to the most exciting match of the weekend. Japan, led by their star captain Yoshie Takeshita lost the first set, but then recovered with the match going to a tie break. It was a really even battle but finally the visitors secured a 3-2 (25-15, 16-25, 22-25, 25-19, 18-16) victory and top position in Pool F leaving Japan in second place.     

FIVB Hero Milagros Cabral de la Cruz had one match left to try to lead her team to a victory after the losses against Japan and Thailand, but couldn’t make it against Puerto Rico and lost 3-2 and took the last place with just one point.

Next weekend will be the last of the preliminary round with the finals just around the corner.  Stay turned to to keep following your favourite Heroes!