Volleyball...and the Soviet Union has emerged undefeated from the round-robin tournament in Tokyo for the?
Volleyball...and the Soviet Union has emerged undefeated from the round-robin tournament in Tokyo for the Men's World Cup Championships. The Soviets won the title on Tuesday (29 November) by beating Japan handsomely in the final match, 15-6, 15-2, 15-10.
SYNOPSIS: The Soviet team, wearing dark shirts, had moved through the series of finals matches like a juggernaut. In all its matches - against Cuba, Poland, and Japan - it had looked the most compete team.
The dominating Soviet strength, the height and reach of its players at the net, was expected to be a tremendous asset against the shorter Japanese...and so it proved. While the Japanese were fast and agile in centre court, they met repeated trouble when trying to strike winning shots at the net.
Still, the home team, with a packed house of 15,000 fans roaring them on frequently combined with telling effect.
Yet the patriotic cheers began to take on a nervous edge as the match settled into a deadly pattern: those Soviets patrolling the net were simply too tall and strong.
In the second set, the striving Japanese managed to prise only two points from the red-shirted machine, which was now in top gear. The Soviets had come into this final match rippling with confidence, having demolished Poland in fine style the day before.
The Japanese generally outplayed in high blocking, but had the satisfaction of scoring an occasional point at the net.
By now, the match and the championship looked securely in the Soviet's grasp. To haul themselves back, the Japanese wold have needed to produce resources that clearly were not there. They could not hope to wear down the other side, which was also matching them at their greatest strength-teamwork. They took this point with a deft lob, but it was a dying gesture.
Championship point...and the Soviets won it characteristically...with a smash.