Tokyo, Japan, June 1, 2008– Australia took just 66 minutes to easily beat Argentina 3-0 on Sunday for their second consecutive win in the FIVB Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament, while Italy maintained their victorious rhythm by downing Korea in straight sets during the second day of action at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. Algeria also remained undefeated after smashing Thailand 3-0 and Japan overpowered Iran 3-1, recovering their Olympic hopes.
The winner of this event will be heading to Beijing. This round-robin tournament doubles up also as the Asian Men's Olympic Qualification Tournament, so the best Asian team (even if the winner is Asian) will also book a berth in the Volleyball Tournament of the Olympic Games.
Asian champions Australia swept world No. 6 Argentina 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-18) in a magnificent team display. The Aussies, ranked 11th in the world, were highly impressive in overpowering the South Americans with an inspired Paul Carroll claiming a match-best 22 points. For Argentina, Lucas Chavez scored eight points. The victory improved their win-loss record to 2-0, while dropping Argentina to 1-1.
“Obviously I am very pleased. After yesterday's match against Thailand it was difficult to measure how we have been going in our preparations, but today against Argentina we played an excellent match," said Australia captain Benjamin Hardy. "I am very happy for the guys. It is important in this competition to not only beat the Asian teams but the rest of the world teams to qualify for the Olympics."
Following up their 3-2 victory over the host team on Saturday night, Italy swept Korea 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-21) to extend their win-loss record to a perfect 2-0. Korea, ranked 16th in the world and third at the 2007 Asian Championship, dropped to 0-2.
The Italians, who finished only sixth in the 2007 European Championship, always maintained a healthy lead and kept up the pressure until the end. Captain Alberto Cisolla produced 15 points for the European team while Shin Young-Soo made 10 for Korea.
“Today it was not so difficult compared to yesterday's game. We could concentrate for all three sets without getting irritated," said Italian captain Alberto Cisolla. "So you can see the difference between yesterday's game and today's game. We can concentrate on our own playing style game by game. Today's result is very satisfying."
Japan held off a feisty fightback by Iran to win the all-Asia duel 3-1, brushing aside the disappointment of the loss against Italy on Saturday night. In a raucous atmosphere, the hosts came home 25-19, 25-17, 23-25, 25-22 to improve their win-loss record to 1-1. Iran dropped to 0-2. Takahiro Yamamoto and Mohammad Kazem scored 21 points each to split the honours for best scorer.
“From the first half, the service functioned well. In the meeting yesterday we decided to make each service count, and that functioned well," Japanese captain Masaji Ogino stated. "But we lost the third set, and although we got the fourth set it was only because of Iran's mistakes. We need to think about that once again. However, yesterday, each player thought about their individual performance. For the game against Korea (on Tuesday) we need to revise our weak points and play our best."
In the first match of the day, World No. 60 Algeria made it two wins out of two, following up their heroic 3-2 victory over Iran on Saturday with a 3-0 sweep of 28th-ranked Thailand, 25-23, 25-21, 25-15 to improve their win-loss record to a perfect 2-0. Thailand, fifth in the 2007 Asian Championship, dropped to 0-2. Algerian Toufik Mahdjoubi was the best scorer of the match with 18 points, meanwhile Wanchai Tabwises notched 15 for his team.
“Yesterday we played a five-set match against Iran, so physically we were tired today," said Algerian captain Ali Kerboua. "In the first and second sets we found the game difficult, but in the third set we felt better and our level improved. We want to play hard in the remaining matches. The best point we have improved since our last Olympic qualification tournament has been our confidence."
The tournament will resume on Tuesday, after the rest day on Monday, when teams will have plenty to think about ahead of their next and decisive matches.
Live scores, statistics, interviews and high resolution photos of the tournament are online at www.fivb.org
Second Day Results:
Algeria - Thailand 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-15)
Australia - Argentina 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-18)
Italy - Korea 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-21)
Japan - Iran 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 23-25, 25-22)
Standings (two points for victory, one for loss):
Australia, Algeria, Italy: 4 points
Argentina, Japan: 3 points
Thailand, Korea, Iran: 2 points
Match schedule for Tokyo (All times are local)
Monday, June 2 – Rest Day
Tuesday, June 3
Algeria vs. Argentina (11:35)
Australia vs. Italy (13:35)
Iran vs. Thailand (15:35)
Korea vs. Japan (18:30)
Wednesday, June 4
Argentina vs. Iran (11:35)
Korea vs. Australia (13:35)
Italy vs. Algeria (15:35)
Japan vs. Thailand (18:30)
Thursday, June 5 – Rest Day
Friday, June 6
Thailand vs. Argentina (11:35)
Iran vs. Italy (13:35)
Algeria vs. Korea (15:35)
Australia vs. Japan (18:30)
Saturday, June 7
Korea vs. Iran (11:05)
Australia vs. Algeria (13:05)
Italy vs. Thailand (15:05)
Japan vs. Argentina (18:00)
Sunday, June 8
Thailand vs. Korea (11:05)
Iran vs. Australia (13:05)
Argentina vs. Italy (15:05)
Algeria vs. Japan (18:00)