Osaka, Japan, September 15, 2015 – USA coach John Speraw thinks his side’s unbeaten record is “irrelevant” at this point while Italy coach Gian Lorenzo Blengini agreed that Osaka will be a “new story” as the coaches prepare for the next round of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup Japan 2015.
The second round of the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament gets going again on Wednesday with the US leading the standings on five wins.
USA face Venezuela in their next match, but John Speraw insists the world No.5 are not getting carried away with their position in the standings.
“I think we are in a good position at 5-0,” he said. “We are fortunate because we have played some good teams. This represents a new start.
“We have to stay focused on our next matches. There are tough teams in this group. Our record should be irrelevant at this point.”
But Venezuela coach Vincenzo Nacchi was confident of his side’s chances this round, adding they can match any side on court.
“At this time we are happy with our performance,” he added. “It's a difficult group here in the Osaka round with USA, Japan and Italy. If we keep up a good level of performance we can compete with them.”
Hosts Japan have had a mixed start, picking up wins over Egypt, Australia and Canada but losses to USA and Italy. Coach Masashi Nambu said his youthful side lack experience and need to stay focused if they want to continue to pick up victories.
“During the Hiroshima round our young players didn't have much experience but we were able to win three games there,” he added. “Our experience is not ideal for a tournament like this and if we lose focus it will be tough for us. Each match will require a show of character and our full concentration.”
For Italian coach Blengini, it was the beginning of games that caused him headaches.
“From tomorrow we begin a new phase and a new story will start,” he said. “We have to change our focus. Especially sometimes when we start the match we are not so good. We still have to play a lot of difficult games. Our focus will not change.
“We will play Iran tomorrow and will have to be ready. Venezuela is showing quality and I believe they will continue to get better.”
Iran coach Slobodan Kovac, however, was far from happy with his players. They struggled in Hamamatsu after being stunned by Argentina in their opening game before going down to Russia and Poland also.
“I'm not satisfied with our play at this point,” he explained. “I hope we have a chance to learn some more. We will face three good teams here.
“Until this moment we have not done anything.”
If Kovac Slobodan wasn’t happy with the opening round, Tunisia coach Fathi Mkaouar would have been even more disappointed. The world No.15 lost all five of their matches and he was hoping for a better showing in Osaka.
“This tournament has been difficult from the beginning,” Mkaouar said. “We left Tunisia just before the tournament began and had a long flight here. Our first game was not good. We then lost 3-2 to Venezuela. That was not bad and we hope to play better.
“We have refreshed our mood and will play big teams here like we did in the Hamamatsu round. We hope to improve our skills and experience in the next games.”
“[Yuki] Ishikawa is one of the youngest players in the tournament. He has both speed and power. I believe he has a bright future.”