Gold Coast, Australia, June 21 - Hosts Australia will take on the current Asian champions, European silver medallists and a former Olympic gold medallist at this weekend's FIVB Volleyball World League Group 2 Finals on the Gold Coast.
The Australian team arrived on the Gold Coast on Tuesday full of confidence after qualifying in their own right for this weekend’s finals, but they are wary of all three opponents who also arrive in very good form.Quick links - Volleyball:
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Slovenia, the 2015 European silver medallists, finished top of Group 2 with eight wins from nine matches, while former Olympic champions, the Netherlands, lost just two matches.
Australia qualified third with six wins and three losses, with 2015 Asian Champions Japan edging out rivals China for the final place.
Australia will take on their Asian rivals, Japan, in one semifinal on Saturday. The teams met twice in the Preliminary Round, with Japan winning the first encounter 3-1 in Slovakia before Australia turned the table two weeks later to win 3-2 in China.
Slovenia and the Netherlands meet in Saturday’s earlier match, with the winners of both matches meeting in Sunday’s final.
“This is set to be one of the biggest weekends in Australian volleyball since the Sydney Olympics,” Volleyball Australia CEO, Mathieu Meriaux, said.
“To have teams of the calibre of Slovenia, the Netherlands and Japan coming to the Gold Coast to take on our Volleyroos, should give every sport fan goosebumps.
“We have been so proud of our Volleyroos in this year’s World League. Under the leadership of coach Mark Lebedew and captain Paul Carroll they have grown enormously in confidence, and will carry high expectations this weekend.
“The determining factor could well be the home-town fans, so we would urge every Australian sports fan to buy their ticket and come and cheer our boys home.”
Saturday’s game between Slovenia and the Netherlands begins at 17.10 local time at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre in Carrara, with Australia taking on Japan at 19.40.
Sunday’s bronze medal match begins at 13:40, while the battle to determine the Group 2 World League Champions begins at 16:10.
Tickets for all matches are available at www.volleyroos.com.au
Fans around the world will also be able to watch live streams of the matches on the FIVB's YouTube page