Everything to play for as final round of World Cup set to begin


Five teams are still in with a chance of earning a top two place

Tokyo, Japan, September 20, 2015 – The six coaches set to compete at the Yoyogi National Stadium in the final round of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup Japan 2015 talked about their excitement on the eve of what is expected to be a thrilling finale to the tournament.

Five teams are still in with a chance of earning one of two Rio 2016 Olympic Games berths on offer, and the tension is set to reach boiling point over the final three days of action.

USA currently lead the standings, unbeaten on eight wins, but coach John Speraw said his team need to find another level if they want to finish the tournament in the same position.

“We have had a good tournament so far,” he explained. “Looking at the schedule before the start of the tournament it looked like there would be an exciting conclusion and this has proven so. We are excited about this. We will have to play better than we have. Our players have grown from each experience. We hope to play our best volleyball at the end.”

Chasing them are Poland, also with eight wins. Coach Stephane Antiga has been happy with his team so far, but knows there is still a lot to play for.

“With three games left there are still five teams that have a chance to qualify,” he said. “There is no semifinal and final. We are doing well and happy to be in Tokyo.”

Russia have lost just one match in Japan, and coach Vladimir Alekno said these games are crucial for the side.

“Needless to say, but we are to play the final round of the World Cup against USA, Poland and Italy,” he said. “These games will be decisive. I would like to prepare for them.”

Gian Lorenzo Blengini’s Italy have seven wins themselves, and knows the challenge facing the world No.4 is huge.

“The third round has started. New stories will begin,” he added. “We will face three new teams and want to do our best one after another. The teams will be some of the best. I am excited about this. We are prepared for the matches.”

Japan ended the second round with a devastating five-set loss to Iran. Coach Masashi Nambu said the experience of the World Cup has been priceless for his young team.

“We have played eight games so far and it has been a good experience,” he said. “We will now face Argentina, Poland and Russia. These are top, high-level teams that are strong. This will be a precious experience for our players. We will prepare for this.”

Meanwhile, veteran coach Julio Velasco is disappointed he will not be able to watch all the action unfold, with his focus solely on Argentina.

“It's a pity that I don't have enough time to see all the matches in this round,” he explained. “These will be top, high-level matches. I will only be able to focus on our matches. We will first face Japan, which is playing good volleyball and is the home team. We are only thinking about tomorrow. We will think about the other matches later.”


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