Thai spikers struggle against Serbia
Second-round troubles continue, with top-ranked USA a tough final opponent on Saturday
7 Oct 2022 at 21:34
Thailand’s second-round struggles continued on Friday with a straight-sets loss to powerhouse Serbia at the FIVB Women’s World Championship in Lodz, Poland.
After a brilliant first round in which they won four of their five matches including a couple of clear upsets, the Thai women have now dropped three straight contests. They gave a good account of themselves against a superior opponent on Friday but No.4 Serbia ultimately prevailed 25-23, 25-17, 25-15. Pimpichaya Kokram with 8 points and Ajcharaporn Kongyot with 6 led the Thai scoring.
Thailand opened their second-round campaign with a four-set loss to World No.15 Canada (19-25, 21-25, 25-23, 22-25) on Tuesday, while 13th-ranked Germany prevailed on Wednesday in another four-set match, 25-19, 25-22, 18-25, 25-23.
The struggle doesn’t get any easier, with Thailand’s final Pool F match against World No.1 USA on Saturday at 8pm Thailand time. The Americans, also the defending Olympic champions, lost to Serbia in the first round.
After three matches, Thailand are sixth in the eight-team Pool F with 10 points (wins and points from the first round carry over to the second). The top four teams in each pool will advance to the quarterfinals of the championship that is being held in Poland and the Netherlands until Oct 15.
World No.14 Thailand, led by captain Pornpun Guedpard, are playing in their seventh world championship, with their best finish being 13th in 2010 and 2018.
Thailand’s ultimate goal is their first berth in the Olympics in Paris in 2024, with slots for 11 teams at stake, plus an automatic berth for host France. The qualifying tournaments for the Olympic Games will take place in September and October next year.
Twenty-four teams defined by the FIVB rankings will be eligible for the qualifying rounds. The rankings for the women’s teams will be announced on Oct 17 this year.
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