Osaka, Japan, June 17 2016 - Japan's Kunihiro Shimizu led from the front as Japan earned a 3-0 (26-24, 25-20, 25-23) win over an out-of-sorts Finland to maintain their 100% record over their European opponents in the FIVB Volleyball World League.
Japan's Shimizu was the stand out player in their match with Finland as he scored 19 points to earn his side a comfortable victory with only Finland's Olli-Pekka Ojansivu in double figures for his side as they disappoint in their opening game of the weekend.
Going into their opening match of this weekend's tournament, Japan had never lost to their European Opponents and they were looking to maintain that record, whilst Finland were looking to break their duck against their experienced opponents who were in their 25th World League.
The opening set was a close affair with both sides taking a look and sizing the competition before Shimizu began to assert his authority on the game. Despite taking a lead on the game, Finland hit back to force the game to a tie-breaker, but they were narrowly undone, as Japan secures the set with a 26-24 win.
The second set, Japan were the stronger side throughout with only Ojansivu offering any resistance for Finland. Japan had a brief lapse that threatened to allow their European opponents back into the game but the home side re-grouped to take the second set 25-20 in front of their vocal home support.
Needing to assert their authority on the third set early to allow themselves a chance to get back into the game, Finland began the set trading points with their hosts but Japan continued to edge ahead as the set wore on, allowing a hard-fought contest to be finished in straight-sets as they edged the third 25-23 for a 3-0 victory.