The Netherlands in the match against Russia

With the FIVB Volleyball Women's U20 World Championship entering into an even more exciting stage, the teams in Pool E (USA, Brazil, Netherlands, Russia) began their journey towards the semifinals with two clashes (Brazil against the USA, and Netherlands against Russia). USA and the Netherlands overpowered their respective rivals - Brazil and Russia, at 3-1, to remain undefeated in the tournament so far.

On the first day of play in Pool E, Brazil and USA fought more than 120 minutes, delivering some spectacular rallies from the very beginning of this "game of nerves".

Brazil started well in defence, always on time, but good work on the block allowed USA to score a break point and take a lead at 10-7 in the first set. Even though the Brazilian players tried to show some smart and tricky play on the net, the players of head coach Dan Fisher were able to score on their opponents’ errors. In the next set, Brazil claimed the leading role and were better in the different elements, reducing the number of unforced errors to eventually tie the set score. USA immediately responded, speeding up on the attack, becoming the dominant team in this element. USA finished with 56 successful actions in attack (compared to 42 by Brazil). The Selecao meanwhile were better on the block (17 to 12 by the USA). USA opposite hitter Emily Londot showed no doubts in the decisive moments, again becoming the top scorer of the match with 22 points.

“Today’s win was an all-team effort. We were really focused and really tuned in on the serve. Once we cleared up our little mistakes, it all came together. In the previous games, we did very well defensively, while today we were very good on the attack - it is one of our goals to play this well on the fast balls,” said USA libero Alexis Rodriguez.

The Netherlands started stronger on the serve (two aces before the 6th point), making it difficult for Russia’s reception. Russia tried to resist, but the well-organized Dutch team's play in attack (11 in the first set), helped the co-hosts to open in their favour.

Russia took the lead on the block in the first minutes of the next set, while the Netherlands let some unforced errors (on serve as well) affect the score. However, led by Elles Dambrink and Jolien Knollema, the Dutch came back, grabbing the second set. Both teams were breathing down each other's necks, but the Russians pushed on the block and brought back the intrigue. In the decisive fourth set, the Russians were leading but then lost all the important points to the Dutch.

The Netherlands finished with better statistics across all the elements, and once again, it was Dambrink who hammered point after point to finish as best scorer with 22 points.

“I’m so happy, I can’t stop smiling! We knew that we should do it “one point at a time”, and that we had to play smart. Everyone on the team really wanted to win, and we did it! Tomorrow, Brazil will look for revenge, for sure. We expect that they will give their best, but we will do that too, so I am looking forward to a great match," Britte Stuut, middle blocker of the Netherlands said.