Winless Japan hoping to end drought against Russia


Japan - Russia (26 July)
· Japan and Russia have met 27 times in the World Grand Prix, with Russia winning 17 times and Japan 10 times, including the last match, which was in the Final Round in 2014 (3-1).
· Japan can win successive World Grand Prix matches against Russia for the first time since winning the first five meetings between 1993 and 1995.
· They have met five times in the Final Round, with Russia winning the first four matches and Japan the last meeting (2014).
· They also met once in the Olympic Games. In 2012, Russia won 3-1.

· Japan have lost their first four matches in this Final Round and with every other team having won at least two, they are guaranteed a sixth-place finish.
· Their sixth place is their lowest finish since 2012, when they came ninth in the competition. Last year, they were runners-up and in 2013 they were fourth.
· Japan have now lost seven of their last eight WGP matches, their only victory in that span dating back to 18 July when they vanquished Thailand 3-0.
· Last year, Belgium lost all five of their Final Round matches.

· After starting out with two victories in this Final Round, Russia have now dropped two in a row, against United States and China.
· These are also the opponents that dealt them successive defeats in the Preliminary Round. They have yet to lose three in a row in the WGP this year, but did lose four in a row last season.
· Russia are poised to take their 13th medal in the competition. Only Brazil have taken more. Brazil are on 16, but can extend that to 17 this year, should they finish in the top three.
· Nataliya Goncharova has contributed at least 20 points in each of Russia's four matches in this Final Round (28-24-29-20).


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