Gabi heads Brazilian clash with Serbia
Gabriela 'Gabi' Guimarães keeps the ball in play for Brazil
The two players are among the top five scorers in the tournament, each having an output of 177 and 161 points, respectively, which is already an improvement from Brazil’s individual scoring output last year, when only one player scored at least 150 points in the preliminary round.
Gabi also is the best receiver in the tournament so far with a 31.38 efficiency percentage, ahead of German libero Lenka Durr.
Brazil have a total of eight victories in the 2019 VNL, including their last four wins, while Serbia are on a three-match losing streak. The Serbians are experiencing their longest losing run at the VNL and are looking to snap this losing spell when they face the Brazilians in Pool 15.
In their previous encounters, Brazil have the edge against Serbia in the last 16 meetings. However, Serbia have won their last three encounters, including their straight-set win in the first round of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship, where they went on to win the title in Japan.
Japan will take on Thailand for the all-Asian derby in Pool 15 at 19:10. The two squads will rely on their great defence of their players and the creative playmaking talents of their setters in this encounter.
Japan’s defence will be led by Mako Kobata, who leads the team with an average of 3.59 digs per set, while Thailand’s plays will be directed by best setter Nootsara Tomkom who averages 7.03 per set. Nootsara will try to test her creativity with Japan’s Miya Sato.
In other pool matches, Korea will meet Bulgaria in Pool 13 in Perugia at 17:00 local time, then hosts Italy will try to claim their 10th win in the 2019 VNL against European rivals Russia at 20:00.
Italy have two players in the top five of the best attacker category – Elena Pietrini and Indre Sorokaite. Italy’s top player Paola Egonu has been delivering double-digit performance in some of their matches, including 27 points against Korea.
In Stuttgart, Pool 14 matchups on Thursday feature Belgium and the Dominican Republic at 17:30 local time, and Germany and the Netherlands at 20:30.
Belgium lead the three other teams with six wins and five losses. The Dominican Republic and Germany have a 5-6 win-loss card, while the Netherlands have won three matches so far.
Turkey and China are seeking their 10th wins in the 2019 VNL and they face Poland and the United States, respectively, in Pool 16.
Turkey and Poland play the first match at 16:00 local time, then the hosts will meet USA in the second match at 20:00.
The matches in Jiangmen are tough as last edition’s podium finishers USA, Turkey and China are grouped together with Poland who boast current 2019 VNL best scorer Malwina Smarzek.
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