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Japan out while Italy keep the faith

 
FINAL ROUND: 
Italy - Japan (25 July)
Head-to-Head
· This will be the 19th World Grand Prix match between Japan and Italy. Japan have won seven times, Italy 11 in the previous 18 meetings.
· Italy won the two most recent encounters 3-2, in 2014 and in 2015.
· The match in 2015 was played on July 10 in Saitama, with Japan's Sarina Koga scoring 28 points (of which 26 were from spikes), most of all players.
· They have met six times in the Final Round, with Italy winning the first two meetings (2000 and 2005) and Japan the last four matches (2008-2013).
· Italy defeated Japan 3-0 in Bari in the second round at the 2014 World Championship.

Italy
· Italy celebrated their first win of this Final Round on Friday, by defeating China in five sets.
· Indre Sorokaite led the Italians with 25 points, 20 from spikes, four from serving aces and one block.
· Italy's win ended a four-match losing streak in the World Grand Prix.
· Italy have now emerged victorious in each of their last five WGP matches that went to five sets.
· Whatever the outcome against Japan, Italy cannot win the WGP if USA beat Brazil earlier in the day.

Japan
· Japan have dropped their first three matches in this Final Round, all in straight sets.
· The three consecutive straight-sets defeats is something that Japan had not experienced in the WGP since dropping three in a row against China, Brazil and the Dominican Republic in 2008.
· Japan are the only side officially eliminated from contention for the trophy in this Final Round. The best they can finish with is two victories, while table leaders United States are on three already.
· Miyu Nagaoka turns 24 years old on the day of this match (local time). Nagaoka's 10 successful spikes led the team against Brazil on Friday.

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