Osaka, Japan, September 17, 2015 – Japan made it five wins at the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup 2015
on Thursday as they defeated Venezuela for the first time in 25 years with a straight sets (33-31, 26-24, 25-19) win in Osaka.
Venezuela made it far from easy for the hosts, with the opening two sets going beyond the 25-point mark. Captain Kunhiro Shimizu unsurprisingly topped the scores with 18 points, but it was Venezuelan errors which made a big difference as they gave up 30 to Japan’s 26.
It was a fairly even start to the first set as the hosts went behind at the technical timeout thanks to a block from Maximo Montoya. Another Montoya spike put the visitors three ahead on 12-9 before a Yuka Ishikawa ace blasted off the Venezuelan reception to tie things up at 15-all. In the end Venezuela blew an amazing seven set points before the hosts dealt a psychological blow early in the match by taking the marathon set 33-31.
That seemed to make a difference at the beginning of the second as a Shimizu ace alongside some slick Japanese attacking saw Japan go into the technical timeout ahead 8-4. Venezuela hauled themselves back into it thanks to some powerful Ivan Marquez serving on 15-all. Venezuela’s serve could not get clicking, with three errors in a row as Japan stayed in touch at 20-all. The world No.27 then slipped two set points before Japan came storming back to make it 2-0.
Japan started the third better than their previous two sets, edging ahead on 12-8 after an unsuccessful Venezuela net touch challenge. The Venezuelans looked to come back into it, pulling to within two following an Angel Petit ace. But again Japan kicked on, with a Shimizu spike on 20-17 sending the sold-out crowd into a frenzy before a spike rebounded off the Venezuela block to clinch the win for the home side.