VNL 2024 - News

Japan (JPN) vs. Slovenia (SLO) men - Quarterfinals #5928516

The Japanese captain celebrates a point in the Asian victory

The Polish city of Gdańsk will be the stage for the first semifinal appearance of the Japanese men’s national team in the Volleyball Nations League.

Playing at the Ergo Arena, the Asians surpassed the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time on Thursday, when they secured an emphatic 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 25-22) victory over Slovenia that gave them the third spot in the semifinals of the fifth edition of the event.

  • Watch Volleyball Nations League 2023 Finals live on VBTV

The Japanese will know their opponents in the semifinals later on Thursday, following the fourth and last quarterfinal duel of the VNL 2023, between hosts Poland and Brazil, set to start at 20:00 local time (18:00 UTC). The semifinals will be played on Saturday in Gdańsk.

The Asians, who had a fifth-place finish at the 2022 VNL as their best result in the tournament, are also one win away from claiming their first medal in an international event since they took bronze in the 2009 FIVB Grand Champions Cup.

Japanese captain Yuki Ishikawa was brilliant in the match against the Slovenians, leaving the court with 27 points, the highest-scoring performance of the quarterfinals so far. The 27-year-old star outside hitter had a complete display, tallying 22 kills, four blocks and one ace.

“We’re so happy with this win, it was an amazing match from us,” Ishikawa commented. “I felt I was playing well and I was happy to help the team win this match. We’re feeling better every match and we have to continue to play like this in the semifinals, it will certainly be a tough match.”

Japan (JPN) vs. Slovenia (SLO) men - Quarterfinals #5928511

Middlde blocker Taishi Onodera registered six points in the Japanese triumph

Explosive opposite Yuji Nishida was the second-best Japanese scorer in the encounter with 12 points (all in kills), followed by outside hitter Ran Takahashi, who got nine, all also on offense.

Slovenia had middle blocker Alen Pajenk (11 kills, one block) and team captain and outside hitter Tine Urnaut (12 kills) as their top scorers, with 12 points each. Rising star outside hitter Rok Možič added another ten, with eight kills and two blocks.

The Asians heavily relied on their offense to beat the Europeans, having a massive 13-point advantage in kills (54 to 41). Japan also had more blocks (six to five) and aces (two to zero), but gave away more points from errors (18 to 14).

**Volleyball Nations League 2023: full schedule and results**

The other semifinal of the VNL 2023, which will also be played on Saturday, will reunite the United States, who knocked out defending champions France with a 3-2 (25-21, 25-18, 17-25, 24-26, 15-9) win, and world champions Italy, who overcame Tokyo Olympic bronze medalists Argentina with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-14) victory on Wednesday.

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