It’s the final day of pool play in the Montreux Masters 2019. Expect teams that are still in the running to give their best in hopes of clinching a semifinal spot.
1) Japan assured of a semifinal spot
The Japanese are into the semifinals despite having a similar 2-1 record with China. Aside from having more match points than their Asian rival, Japan has a higher set ratio as compared to the defending Olympic champions.
The question remaining for Coach Kumi Nakada’s crew is whether they will enter the semis as the number one or number two seed. This will depend on the outcome of Poland-Germany match today. That game will also determine China’s fate in the competition.
2) Poland looking to do quick work against Germany
Stop Louisa Lippmann and Poland has a strong chance of winning. But that is easier said than done as the German opposite spiker made 31 points in the loss to Japan.
But if the Poles would like to enter the semifinals without any complications, they would have to defeat the Germans in three or four sets. That would give them three match points which propels them over China for the second semis slot. Winning in five sets makes it complicated for Poland and China will have the same amount of match points.
China has the superior points ratio as of press time. Regardless of result, a five-setter against Germany is the last thing Poland would want.
3) Thailand looking to sweep Pool B
The only Asian team in the pool is looking to maintain its undefeated record. They would have to do that against a taller Turkey squad who will provide stiff opposition at the net.
Thailand is not out of the woods yet despite a 2-0 record. They cannot afford to lose against the Turks in three or four sets because that would give them zero match points. Extending the game to a fifth set guarantees them a semifinals berth with seven points.
But it would be better to maintain their clean slate to boost their confidence coming into the semis.
4) Turkey and Italy still in the hunt
The Turks can take the number one seed in Pool B outrightly if they can defeat Thailand in straight sets. Aside from getting full match points and having identical 2-1 records, the Thais will have an inferior set ratio if that happens.
Turkey winning in four sets will complicate matters because they will have the same standing, match points, and set ratio with the Thais. They would have to look at the point ratio to identify the ranking and that could favor Thailand.
Meanwhile, Italy is another team that is hoping for a Thailand. A straight-sets win by the Italians over the Swiss and a three-set triumph by Turkey will propel both teams to the semifinal.
5) Switzerland and Germany looking to finish on a high note
Out of semifinal contention, the Germans and the Swiss would want to end their Montreux Masters 2019 with a win. Aside from avoiding winless campaigns, both teams can still play spoiler to the semifinal hopes of Poland and Italy, respectively.
The Germans must find other options beyond Lippmann and Hanna Orthmann to claim victory. Otherwise, their offense becomes predictable and Poland has nothing else to do but to stop the two main scorers.
Meanwhile, the home team will be facing a stiff challenge against the defending champions. But winning their final Pool B match will not only eliminate the Italians but will also give their hometown crowd something to celebrate about.