Canberra, Australia, September 6, 2003 – Australia and Kazakhstan are
set for a major showdown on Saturday after both recording comfortable
straight-set wins on opening night of the Volleyball World Championship
qualifiers in Canberra.
Host-team Australia had little trouble dealing with the much shorter
Kuwaiti team, winning 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-18) in just over an hour.
Earlier, Kazakhstan also made quick work of Thailand, 3-0 (25-17,
25-15, 25-22), but failed to impress coach Rafail Gilyazutdinov. Kazakhstan enjoyed
a considerable height advantage over Thailand, and a dominant court
presence led by the fierce service game of Vitaliy Erdshtein.
Despite the comprehensive win, Kazakhstan coach Rafail Gilyazutdinov
was not impressed.
“For two sets, yes, but not the third,” he said.
“I'm not satisfied with the third. They didn't do what I wanted. They weren't
tired, they just wanted to take it easy.”
Australian coach Jon Uriarte was reasonably happy with the Volleyroos’ form.
“We are focused on the job we have to do, it's not time to make any evaluation
yet,” he said. “It's a new mix on court for us after the Olympics, we've got a
new setter, we've got a very young libero.
“I'm very happy how Luke Perry – just 17 years
old – played today,” he said. “He's showing his capabilities and his
personality, to fulfill this role. We did a very good job outside with our
attack, but we struggled a little bit in the middle. We'll try and adjust that
Adam White was one of the standouts for the
"It was a little bit nerve-wracking, but at
the same time it was good nerves, to be finally playing in front of our home
crowd," White said. "Personally,
I knew hardly anything about the Kuwait team. I knew a bit about the style they played, but individual
players, I knew nothing at all. I think tonight's game was a good game for
first game of the tournament and we can keep improving, keep moving forward
Despite the loss, Kuwait's libero Abdulaziz Saleem said his team was not
"Everyone knows Australia is of the highest level," he
said. "We can only do our best. They
will go to the World Cup, but we will do what we did today to, play good. Australia must go to the World Cup, and we tried to play
against them, but we can't. We're happy. If you lose against Australia, there is nothing to lose."
Tomorrow, first round losers Thailand and Kuwait meet at
4:30 p.m. local time, and Australia takes on Kazakhstan at 7:00 p.m.
local time in a game that could determine who goes to Poland for the 2014
FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championships.