Dmitriy Muserskiy topped the scores for Russia with 17 points but Shimizu Kunihiro led everyone with 19.
Both teams started nervously with service errors, going point-to-point with nothing between them. This was illustrated best when a great serve by Apalikov for Russia, followed by some excellent defence from Japan, who had to go to the Russian side under the net to rescue a shaky reception, saw them draw level at 4-4. Japan took a four point lead following the first tto, but Russia hauled them back. Japan again gained an advantage with Russia making a number of mistakes, gifting their Asian rivals the set.
Japan maintained the same level of commitment in the second set. Immediately they went up by couple of points, carving a 9-5 lead. Russia momentarily pulled them back, but Japan again went ahead. Russia continued to struggle with the firm Japanese defence, and couldn’t draw level, despite coming close. Their efforts eventually came through as they drew at 23-all, but Japan dug deep to go 2-0 ahead.
When Russia went up 3-1 in the third set, coach Ueta asked for a time-out, to try to prevent the Europeans from escaping out of reach. However, it didn’t pay off as Russia stormed to the first tto leading by four points. After the break, Russia managed to stay on top by a three-point margin and they wrapped up the set 25-19.
The first stage of the fourth set was evenly matched with both teams siding out often. Russia went into the first tto ahead by just a point, but had doubled this advantage by the second tto to two. Russia kept pushing forward to extend their lead and six points in a row for Russia practically ended the set in their advantage.
Russia came up strong in the deciding set with powerful serves and a well-built defence, etching an 8-5. Fatigue began to creep into Japan’s game and Russia ruthlessly took advantage through powerful spikes. They continued to pile on the pressure and clinch their seventh win of the tournament.