USA defeats defending champion Italy at worlds Cup

USA defeats defending champion Italy at worlds Cup

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
USA defeats defending champion Italy at worlds Cup

Logan Tom (L) of the US spikes the ball past Japanese players, Nana Iwasaka (C) and Mai Yamaguchi (R)

The United States ended defending champion Italy’s match-winning streak yesterday as the two teams secured their top three places to qualify for the London Olympics next year.

The Americans pulled off a 25-23, 25-15, 22-25, 25-21 victory for a 9-1 win-loss record to tie with the Italians, but they have 26 points against Italy’s 25 points in the 12-team round robin competition.

“Every time we play Italy, it’s always a tough fight and they were undefeated and we knew we have to play our best to beat them. We qualified, but we want to win (the tournament), we have one more. The journey continues for us,” said American captain Lindsey Berg.

Meanwhile, coach Hugh McCutcheon said: “I’m extremely happy for our team, not only for our performance tonight, but also for the performance in this whole tournament.

“Our team managed to accomplish our goal. We’ve qualified for the Olympic Games. It’s wonderful,” he added.

Italian coach Massimo Barbolini said his team must improve before the London Games, saying: “We have one season to work. We have a chance to prepare in May and June for the Olympic Games.”

The top three teams in the final standings will qualify for the Olympics.

The winning team receives three points from 3-0 and 3-1 wins, two from a 3-2 win, while the losing team receives one point from a 2-3 defeat.

Earlier in the day, Athens Olympic gold medalists China whipped winless Kenya 25-7, 25-15, 25-10 to keep third place on 23 points with a 7-3 record.

Japan edged past Germany 25-20, 23-25, 25-27, 25-17, 15-12 for 21 points to keep alive a slim hope of finishing third.

Germany, which has 20 points, will play China on the final day today.

Beijing Olympic champion Brazil outgunned Algeria 25-18, 25-8, 25-13 for 18 points, while the Dominican Republic defeated South Korea 25-19, 25-17, 26-28, 21-25, 15-12 for 12 points. Serbia defeated Argentina 25-15, 25-18, 25-23.