Hiroshima, Japan, September 13, 2015 – Canada picked up their first win of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup
, beating Australia in five sets (32-34, 25-14, 25-21, 27-29, 20-18) including a gripping conclusion to the game.
John Gordan Perrin led the Canadians on 26 points, while the talismanic Thomas Edgar, who sat out the majority of the first three sets, topped the score sheets for Australia with 21.
The match broke two World Cup records including the longest match (2 hours 49 minutes) and the highest scoring game (245 points).
Australia seemed galvanised rather than exhausted from that epic five-set win over Egypt a day earlier, although 50-point man Edgar was benched for the start of the match. The world No.13 took a hold of the match straight away. Canada rallied as Australia threw away a big lead, with the scores levelled on 24-all. It was a tense affair from there as Australia desperately tried to wrestle the set back. Canada earned the lead at 29-28, but Australia bounced back on 31-all and stole the set 34-32 after 12 match points in the longest set of the tournament so far.
The Canadians were fired up for the second set and a triple block sent them ahead 8-2 at the first technical timeout. They continued to side out effectively, maintaining the same six-point gap at 16-10. A Justin Duff ace brought up match point and Canada quickly drew even on 25-14.
Duff and Canada continued to be a thorn in Australia’s side in the third, with a spike from the 27-year old giving his country an 8-6 advantge. Australia coach Roberto Santilli called a time out, looking to inspire his team but it didn’t work as Canada turned the screw further. Australia battled back to 22-19, but still struggled, failing to attack efficiently in the middle. It was simple from there as John Perrin secured the set with a spike.
Edgar’s introduction at the beginning of the fourth set gave Australia a bit of a lift and they took an early lead at 4-3. The huge hitter, known as boxy to teammates due to the size of his hands, fired spike after spike at the Canadians. But the end of the set saw the North American side draw level at 20-all. Canada earned their first match point and although Australia reversed it on 26-25 and went on to take it to a fifth.
Australia carried that momentum into the final set, earning a 5-3. A successful block touch challenge call brought up Australia’s first match point. They failed on both their first and second chances to clinch the match. Canada then earned two match points of their own. But Australia came back from the brink both times and then earned a further match point of their own. They blew the chance again before it was Canada’s turn to take the game. The drama reached boiling point as Edgar spiked to draw level at 18-all. Canada earned yet another match point in a game that refused to end before Steven Marshall’s serve hit the tape and rolled over just out of reach of the dig, denying Australia a second victory in the cruelest of fashions.