Gold Coast, Australia, June 24, 2017 – Slovenia and Japan took different routes to reach the final of the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League Group 2 Finals; as Slovenia cruised to a straight-set win over the Netherlands, while Japan prevailed in their thrilling five-set encounter with hosts Australia in the semifinals on Saturday.
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Setter Dejan Vincic orchestrated Slovenia’s well-organised offence that put Mitja Gasparini and Tine Urnaut in the spotlight against the Netherlands’ tough defence. The match featured Slovenia’s brilliance on the attack that resulted in a commanding 25-15 win in the first set.
However, the Dutch fought back against the Slovenians utilising their tough defence to extend the set, but the latter’s mental toughness prevailed to win 32-30. Slovenia showed that they are the top team in the group as they continuously overcame tough situations against the Netherlands that helped them complete the match sweep with a 25-20 triumph.
Japan emerged on top of the thrilling tie-break set against the Netherlands. The Japanese side lost to the hosts 25-23 in the opening set after leading throughout. However, they got back on track after winning the next two sets at 25-18 and 25-23.
Australia did not give up on the fight and came out on top in the fourth set 25-22 that set off loud cheers from the crowd inside the Carrara Indoor Sports Stadium. The final set was a tight race until the end as both sides refused to give up in every rally. Japan finally scored two important points on attacks to prevail with a two-point margin at 18-16.
Slovenia and Japan will meet for the second time this year in the finale at 16:10 local time on Sunday. In their first encounter, Japan handed Slovenia’s only loss in Group 2 in 10 matches when they played in the tie-breaker.
Hosts Australia will face the Netherlands at 13:40 local time to determine the third best team in Group 2.