Japan has beaten Australia 3-2 to book their place in next year’s men’s volleyball World Championships, and leaving the Volleyroos facing a must-win match against Chinese Taipei in Canberra on Sunday if they are to also qualify.
For the third time in their last four outings the Japan-Australia match went to five sets, with Japan, the Asian Champions and 14th-ranked team in the world, repeating their win from the World League semi-finals on the Gold Coast last month.
Australia is ranked just one place behind Japan in 15th.
In Saturday’s earlier match, Chinese Taipei beat Thailand 3-0 to keep their World Championship qualification hopes alive. Their only loss has been a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Japan on the opening day of competition.
The HelloWorld Volleyroos started the match strongly, but Japan was able to settle midway through the opening set to take the opener 25-22. Australia fought back to take the second 23-25, but when Japan waltzed away with the third set 25-14 and led in the fourth the match looked over.
But Australia fought back strongly to regain the ascendency, taking the fourth 22-25, but lost crucial points in the fifth to see Japan delight their followers with a 15-13 win.
Australian captain, Nathan Roberts, said his team gave everything they could.
“That’s international volleyball, all the difference was was one or two points in the end, and they took more advantage of that then us,” Roberts said.
“That’s high level volleyball, there is that one or two per cent difference and unfortunately they got us again this time, which we’re not overly happy about, but tomorrow’s another day.
“Tomorrow we have to bring the enthusiasm, bring what we brought today, because for the best part of today we were pretty good. I think if we bring that tomorrow, we shold get the job done.
“It’s just a matter of being consistent.”
Australia takes on Chinese Taipei at 5:10pm local time Sunday, with the winner qualifying for next year’s World Championships in Italy and Bulgaria.
Pic by @APAC Sport Media