Nagoya, Japan - Sept. 3, 2015 - With two berths for the Rio Olympics on the line, the six coaches whose teams will play at Site A in the third round of the 2015 FIVB World Cup met the media on Thursday here and those still in contention left little doubt about the high stakes of the upcoming matches.
Action at Nihon Gaishi Hall will get underway on Friday with the Dominican Republic playing China in the first match, followed by Russia against the United States, and host Japan taking on Algeria.
"We are excited to play these three strong teams here. It should be a great weekend of volleyball," said USA coach Karch Kiraly, whose team is in first place with a 7-1 record and 22 points.
China coach Lang Ping, whose side also boasts a 7-1 record and has 21 points, acknowledged that the last three contests would be challenging.
"This is the third and last round," Lang noted. "We have three matches against very tough competition. We will do our best."
Russia coach Yury Marichev, with a squad that is one of four with a 7-1 mark and 21 points, was very serious in his assessment of what lies ahead.
"The third round holds great significance," Marichev commented. "This will be like a playoff for the winner. We will play to the best of our ability."
Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe acknowledged that his team, which is 6-2 with 19 points, can't afford to suffer another defeat in their bid for the Olympic ticket.
"We have lost two games already," Manabe said. "We hope to lose no more and will do our best."
Marcos Kwiek, the coach of the Dominican Repubic, which is looking at the remaining matches as an opportunity for his charges to get some seasoning.
"There are three matches to go," Kwiek said. "The USA and China are leading teams in global volleyball. This will be good experience for our young players. We will play to the maximum of our ability."
Algleria coach Henni Abdelhalim is grateful for the chance his team has been given to battle some of the giants of the sport during the tournament.
"We have three games in Nagoya," Abdelhalim said. "Our obective remains the same - to take maximum experience from them. This has been beautiful for us and important for the future of our team."