Published: 11:12, October 10, 2022 | Updated: 11:14, October 10, 2022
China reaches quarterfinals at women's volleyball worlds
By Xinhua

Yuan Xinyue (left) and Wang Yunlu of China react before the Phase 2 Pool E match between China and Belgium at the 2022 Volleyball Women's World Championship in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Oct 9, 2022. (MENG DINGBO / XINHUA)

ROTTERDAM - China cruised past Belgium in straight sets 25-18, 25-18, 27-25 in their last group match at the FIVB Women's World Championship here on Sunday, securing a spot in the quarterfinals meanwhile ending the Belgians' campaign at the tournament.

Outside hitter Britt Herbots scored a game-high 21 points but was unable to avoid the Yellow Tiger's defeat as four Chinese players scored double-digits including outside hitters Li Yingying (16) and Wang Yunlu (15), middle blockers Wang Yuanyuan (11) and Yuan Xinyue (10)

Outside hitter Britt Herbots scored a game-high 21 points but was unable to avoid the Yellow Tiger's defeat as four Chinese players scored double-digits including outside hitters Li Yingying (16) and Wang Yunlu (15), middle blockers Wang Yuanyuan (11) and Yuan Xinyue (10).

"Our two outside hitters played well today. I have full confidence in our players. Many of our players are just playing their first worlds, they need matches to accumulate experience. They did very well until now," said Chinese head coach Cai Bin.

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"Herbots is a very outstanding player, big serve, good reception, and solid defense. We had planned some tactics against her and it worked well today," he added.

Belgium showed resilience in the third set, coming from 19-15 down to level the score 22-22. Yang Hanyu and Yuan's two blocks earned two match points for China, but all were saved by the Belgian team.

Wang stood out at the moment with a powerful spike to earn the third match point for China, before converting it with an ace serving.

"I turned my eyes to the coaches before the last serve, and they gestured me to calm down," said Wang. "I didn't think too much about winning the match with an ace, just try to make a good serve."

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China bounced back from a 3-0 defeat to powerhouse Italy on Saturday, going into the match strongly and winning the first two sets without facing too many difficulties.

Outside hitter Li, who was struggling in the last match, regained her momentum to produce another efficient performance with a 57 percent success rate in attack.

"We had prepared for a tough battle today because we knew they also needed a win to advance," said the 22-year-old Li. "We played with a clear mind in attacking, especially for myself, I have learned from my poor performance yesterday and did much better today. "

Two-time champion China finished with 20 points after a 7-2 win-loss run in the pool, currently sitting in the third place behind world top two Italy (25) and Brazil (23).

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China has to wait for the outcome of another match between Japan and hosts the Netherlands later in the day to decide their opponent in the quarterfinals. If Japan wins 3-0 or 3-1, they take on Brazil in the last eight while China gets Italy. Otherwise, China is to play with Brazil while Japan is to challenge world No. 1 Italy.

"Italy and Brazil are the best teams in the world and we had lost to both of them in the pool matches. No matter whom we will play in the quarterfinals, we will try to play differently and cause bigger trouble for them," said coach Cai.