2019 in Review – Japan topple Italy in classic U20 final


Lausanne, Switzerland, December 22, 2019 – Japan had to fight hard to come back from two sets down against Italy to win gold at the Mexico 2019 FIVB Volleyball U20 Women’s World Championship in Aguascalientes. 

Noboru Aihara’s team beat Massimo Bellano’s Italy side 3-2 (23-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-19, 15-12) to secure Japan’s first gold at U20 level and improve on the bronze they won in 2017. 

For Italy it was their first U20 medal since they won bronze in 2015. 

It was the third time that Mexico hosted the tournament and the 64 matches took place in Aguascalientes and Leon. 

The final lasted two hours and Japan’s Mayu Ishikawa was named MVP following a performance in which she led scoring for the winners with 19 points. Yassimina Kone topped scoring for Italy with 18 points

After the match three Japan players led the way in the post-tournament awards. 

Tsukasa Nakagawa was the best setter, Rena Mizusugi best digger and Mayu Ishikawa was best receiver. 

Italy’s Marina Lubian was the tournament’s best attacker and her teammate Fatim Yassimina Soraya Kone was the best server. 

Russia completed the podium after they defeated Turkey 3-1 (25-22, 26-28, 25-19, 29-27) in the bronze medal match. 

Turkey’s Derya Cebecioglu led scoring in the match with 26 points, and while it failed to help her side win a medal it did mean she finished the tournament as the leading scorer with 172 points.