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Argentina could not win its third engagement

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, July 29, 2013 — In-form Greece enjoyed their first win in the Girls’ U18 World Championship at the Liptapanlop Hall on Monday following their exceptional straight-set 25-15 27-25 25-19 victory over lacklustrous Argentina in their Pool B clash. Now, this Tuesday, on the last day of the preliminary round all depends on the results Argentina v China and Japan v Greece. Poland finished with 7 points and has a free date tomorrow.

Winless Greece, ranked 33rd in the world, got off to a convincing start. Strongly-built Anthi Vasilantonaki, who had a match-high 11 kills from 21 attempts in the previous match against China, and Olga Strantzali became Greece’s major forces to be reckoned with in the first set. The superb duo took turns attacking devastatingly to help Greece take the opener 25-15.

The second set became a different script when both teams fought for points from the beginning, making the on-going contest a see-saw battle. Argentina’s Camila Hiruela Tapia entertained the audience inside the venue with her acrobatic smashes and noisy mouth whistle to boost her team-mates’ spirit.

As Argentina moved ahead 24-23 to badly need only one more point to close the set, they just let the win slip through their fingers. Greece regrouped and counter-attacked exceptionally well to maintain a heart-breaking 24-24 draw. They stormed on to win the hard-fought set 27-25.

After holding 2-0 advantage, Greece still took command in the third set, which they led initially 19-13. Argentina asked for time-out to improve their game and revive their fortunes. Still, Greece performed superbly to smash the rivals’ hopes of a successful come-back, winning the final set 25-19 and the clash.

Only 4 vacancies are left to be determined in the fifth and last day of the first round on Tuesday.

In Pool A, Thailand joined the already qualified Serbia and Puerto Rico leaving on slot between African compatriots Egypt and Tunisia.

Pool B is the most complicated as only Poland confirmed a ticket to the next round leaving the other 4 teams Japan. Greece, China and Argentina quarrel for the other three tickets.

Qualifiers from both Pools C and D were both finally confirmed ahead of the last day of the preliminaries with Brazil, USA, Slovenia and Dominican already done in C and Turkey, Peru, Italy and Chinese Taipei on the spot for D.

Press Conference:

Dimitrios Floros, head coach of Greece: “This is the first game we won in this tournament. That’s why we are very happy. We played very well. Our target is to make it to the last 16 teams. We next take on Japan. They are a very strong team in world volleyball. However, tomorrow is another day. Anything can happen. Let’s see if we can win it again.”

Olga Strantzali, team captain of Greece: “I’m very happy. We played better than Argentina. I wish my team could make it to the round of last 16 teams.”

Guillermo Caceres, head coach of Argentina: “Congratulations on their victory over our team. In the first set, my players were too excited and did not play well. Luck was not also with our team in the second set. Things got worse in the final set. Against China in our last match on Tuesday, I think it will be very tough. China are also strong, but we will try our best.”

Sol Piccolo, team captain of Argentina: “We did not start well and that’s why we lost heart to continue. We next take on China. I don’t fear playing them. We beat an Asian team like Japan before. So, why not China?”

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