Tokyo, Japan, May 27, 2016 – Australia coach Roberto Santilli is targeting a strong start against Asian rivals Iran when they begin the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday.
Italian Santilli added that the Volleyroos will need to think game-by-game if they want to return to the Olympic Games after finishing ninth.
“The first game is important, but all the other games are extremely important too,” Santilli said. “There is not an easy game, and not an impossible one. Everything will pass by our hands now, but we have to think day by day, game by game.”
The eight-team competition will feature some of the best teams in the world, including current FIVB Volleyball World League champions, France, and world champions Poland.
“We are ready,” Santilli explained. “We are very excited to start the tournament. We have been preparing for a long time, and have been thinking about this moment since last year.”
Nearly every member of the Australian squad plays in top European leagues, and only came together in Italy earlier this month.
“It wasn’t easy, but we talk to each other about what we miss, but also to focus on what we have to do,” Santilli said. “The players are putting in a maximum effort for it.”
Australia has been to three Olympics, the first in Sydney in 2000 and then the 2004 Athens and 2012 London games.