[VOLLEYBALL] Thai girls on Friday found six-time World Grand Prix champions Brazil too strong to go down tamely in straight sets in the World Cup 2007 at the Kumamoto Perfectural Gymnasium in Japan.
Thailand, making their debut attempt in the 12-elite team tournament, one of the qualifications for the next year's Olympic Games in Beijing, suffered the bitter loss for five consecutive times which comprised 0-3 loss to European champions Italy, 1-3 to Serbia, 2-3 to Dominican Republic, 0-3 to Japan and 0-3 to South Korea.
Against the South American champions on Friday, the Thai squad fielded a strong line-up led by hard-attackers Pluemjit Thinkaow, Amporn Hyapha and Wilavan Apinyapong. However, the Brazilians made use of their height advantage, exceptional skills and greater experience, forcing the Thai nerves to begin to fray from the opener. As expected, Thailand went down 12-25 and 13-25 in the one-sided first two sets.
The Thai girls improved their tactics and tried to regroup in an attempt to revive their fortunes in the third set, with Wilavan and Pluemjit taking turns to penetrate the rivals' defence with their spectacular spikes. However, their determined efforts could not do that much as the Brazilians tightened their defence and started to produce the goods. The much stronger Brazil eventually captured the hard-fought set 25-20 and the match.
After the encounter, national coach Nattapon Srisamutnark remained in upset mood as saying that concentration is badly needed in the team, for his girls can make amends in the erratic play they had shown in previous matches.
"We faced the same problem on producing the poor first-ball reception, especially in the first two sets. Great serves from Brazil also posed a major problem in our side. We improved our defence in the third set and it bore fruits. Unfortunately, it was too late to make a comeback challenge for the next set. As far as I'm concerned, my girls need more concentration. Many players in my team are inexperienced contesting a major competition like this. They have to learn more," Nattapon commented.
Despite the loss, the Thai girls were asked for their autographs and photographs from adoring Japanese fans. Pluemjit, who led Thailand with eight points including seven kills and one block, became the centre of attention as she turned 24 on Friday.
Thailand on Saturday go up against the USA at 1.05pm bkk time.
Twelve teams - Brazil, Italy, Cuba, the USA, Peru, Poland, Kenya, Dominican Republic, Serbia, South Korea, Japan and Thailand - are competing in the World Cup, which only top three teams after the conclusion of the single round-robin contest ends on November 16 will join hosts and defending champions China in the next year's Olympic Games.
|Rules and Conditions|
|1.The Nation reserves the right to delete any inappropriate comments.|
|2.Our users are not allowed to republicise or use any information except for your own personal use. And The Nation web team is not responsible for any illegal comments.|