Osaka, Japan, Nov 11 - Coaches of the 12 competing teams at the World Cup of Women's Volleyball gathered in this, the second biggest city in Japan, to give their views on this first Olympic qualifier tournament, now entering the fourth and final round.
China leads the field with eight straight wins in this 12-match round robin series and must be favorite for the title, but the three top teams all win a ticket to the Athens 2004 Olympics. Six teams - China, Italy, Brazil and USA, who have a 7-1 win-loss ratio, Japan, with 6-2 and Cuba with 5-3 are all still all in with a chance for the three places.
The remaining teams - Korea, Turkey, Poland, Dominican Republic, Argentina and Egypt are chanceless, but particularly turkey and Poland are still anxious for the best possible finish as their accrued World Ranking points can determine whether they are eligible for other Olympic qualifiers.
What the coaches said before the fourth round:
"So far we have played eight games and played them to our standard, but we still have three tough games and we will try our best to achieve good results. W have not yet clinched our berth but if we go to the Olympics, most of the players that are here will be on the team." Chen Zhonghe, coach of standings leader China (8-0 win-loss ratio, still to play USA, Italy and Japan)
"Six teams can still qualify and we now all face three days of very difficult matches. Italy must improve. I repeat, six teams can still take the Olympic tickets." Marco Bonitta, coach of second ranked Italy (7-1 win-loss, still to play Cuba, China, USA)
"We have three very tough matches and every team we play is different and has different pattern of playing. We must think carefully about our strategies." Jose R. Guimaraes, coach of third ranked Brazil (7-1 win-loss, still to play Japan, USA and Italy)
"USA did what we wanted so far but has been very inconsistent. Now looking back we have nothing to lose and we will do our best in what will all be tough matches." Toshiaki Yoshida, coach of USA (7-1 win-loss, still to play China, Brazil, Cuba)
"Japan still has to play world class teams. We will take it step by step and we want to encourage young power and team power." Shoishi Yanagimoto, coach of Japan (6-2 win-loss, still to play Brazil, Cuba and China)
"We are not content and our players must do their best in the fourth round. We have to fight against strong teams but we will do our best to succeed," Luis Calderon, coach of Cuba (5-3 win-loss, still to play Italy, Japan and USA)
"The Korean team did not have enough preparation due to activities in our league competition." Kim Cheol-Yong, coach of Korea (2-6 win-loss, still to play Dominican Republic, Poland and Turkey)
"We lost some games due to lack of experience compared to the other teams but we want to go out on a winning note." Resat Yaziciogullari, coach of Turkey (2-6 win-loss, still to play Egypt, Dominican Republic, Argentina)
"Poland has made a good impression and I am satisfied with the team's performance. The experience has been very profitable. It is great for us to play against teams like China, the USA and the others. We lost some matches but we have learnt a lot and we will be motivated to win the remaining matches. Ryszard Niemczyk, coach of Poland (2-6 win-loss, still to play Argentina, Korea and Egypt)
"We have had a lot of ups and downs during the first eight matches. It is the first time for us in the World Cup and we hope to leave the tournament with some good victories." Jorge Barbey, coach of Dominican Republic (1-7 win-loss, still to play Korea, Egypt, Argentina)
"So far we have put our importance on individual power and ability and this has been very good experience for our team. We will continue to develop our players and we would like to give you a good surprise in the last matches." Hugo Jauregui coach of Argentina (1-7 win-loss, still to play Poland, Turkey and Dominican Republic)
"Our team is very young and we have been surprised by the high level of world Volleyball as it is not so developed in Africa. Each of the teams has their own characteristics and all are wonderful. We have learnt a lot from this event." Egypt (0-8 win-loss, still to play Turkey, Dominican Republic, Poland.
Matches resume on Nov 13