Australia go down in Rio qualifying opener

Published 28 May 2016 (AEDT)

Nathan Roberts spikes the ball against Iran. © FIVB

VOLLEYBALL: Australian men’s volleyball coach, Roberto Santilli, said his team could not have made a worse start to its Olympic qualifying campaign after losing 3-0 to Asian rivals Iran in Tokyo on Saturday.

There are eight teams competing in Tokyo for four Olympic positions, with Australia needing to be the top placed Asian team to guarantee a ticket.

But the Volleyroos were outplayed from the beginning,

“We could not have expected to start worse,” Santilli said.

“We had a problem with our rhythm. We are lucky there are six games left.

“We will try to reset with a different attitude and overcome this.”

China, Japan and Iran are the other Asian teams vying for Olympic selection, alongside World League champions France, 2014 World Championship winners, Poland, Venezuela and Canada.

The top three teams automatically qualify for Rio, and then the highest ranked Asian team. If an Asian team finishes in the top three, the next best Asian team will also qualify.

But captain Tom Edgar said his team has a lot of work to do.

“We are very disappointed with the start,” Edgar said.

“We had good preparation for this match, and expected a lot. We did not have good rhythm immediately.

“They had a good serve and attack, and that made it difficult for us. We will learn what we can from this match and move on.”

Australia will take on Venezuela on Sunday.

Ross Solly
Volleyball Australia

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