July 8, 2003 – Following Monday night's play-off draw Tuesday, day four, is a rest day at the Boy's
Under-19 World Championship in Thailand but the hosts will have plenty to think about ahead of their elimination match against China.
The hosts have been drawn to face the Asian powerhouse on Wednesday in one of four elimination play-off matches between sides which finished second or third in their pool.
Along with Thailand's match against China, Puerto Rico meet
Egypt, defending five-time champions Brazil play Italy and the Czech Republic
face The Netherlands. The losers of each match will crash out of the tournament, leaving only four
teams to enter the quarter-finals to pit their expertise against
teams which topped the four groups in the preliminaries and have already
secured their berths in the quarters.
Thailand head coach Apichart Kongsawat admitted that taking on China is not an easy job. Both teams are from Asia and they know each others tactics.
“It will be a tough match for us. The Chinese players are much taller than
us," he said. "Certainly, I think they will use their height advantage to attack us
fiercely. However, I think among the remaining eight teams to play in the
elimination play-off, China looks to be the weakest. If we can
maintain our top form, I do hope that we can beat them although
our chances are quite slim”.
“Among the great asset China displayed during their preliminaries are their
solid blocks and spectacular spikes from captain Wang Zhen and Liu Xiaobao.
To match them effectively, we have to try to block them and hit back with
fast spikes. However, since they are all much taller than us, their shortest
player libero Sun Chuankun is standing 187cm tall, we have to spike from
either the mid-court or the back court to avoid their block."
China, meanwhile, is more than happy that they will next take on the host
“I’m quite happy with the draw," Chinese head coach Xin Chunsheng said. "After the completion of the preliminary
round, every team making to the next round is very strong. Every match now
will be much tougher”.
“I don’t think Thailand is the weakest team and at the same time, they can
put our team in trouble. They have home fans cheering them all the way and
we have to play cool under pressure. If we become nervous, we can lose the
match easily. I think we will have a good match on Wednesday,” he added.
The elimination play offs will also be joined by two seeding playoff matches amongst the pool leaders with Group B winners Russia, who have yet to drop a single set, taking on Group D champions Iran while Group A champs Australia go up against Group C winners and Asian champions India.