Bari, Italy, September 17, 2018 – On Monday, Australia claimed a ticket to the second round of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2018 and did so with the help of their opposite Lincoln Alexander Williams, who scored 25 points. After losing the first set, the Volleyroos turned the match around to claim a 3-1 win (16-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-16) over Tunisia that makes sure Australia will finish fourth in Pool C – meaning they will progress to the next stage of the competition.
Tunisia had a great start to the match but the 13 points scored by opposite Ali Bongui were not enough to avoid the fourth defeat in four matches the African champions have contested this far in Bari. In order to leave Italy with at least one victory, Tunisia will go for a ‘mission impossible’ on Tuesday when taking on pool leaders USA.
In the evening match at PalaFlorio in Bari, Australia clashed with Tunisia. The defeat of Cameroon and their elimination from the fight for the qualification to the next round somehow made sure that the Volleyroos were quite relaxed but still they could not let down their guard in their last match in the pool. Tunisia were still in for a spot in the next round had they won against Australia and with USA as well.
Tunisia started off better than their rivals, forcing Australian coach Mark Lebedew to use one timeout at 0-4 already in an attempt to change the course of the game, but the athletes around head coach Antonio Giacobbe went ahead 8-4 and 16-9 at the technical timeouts. The North African team looked determined not to leave this tournament with yet another loss and managed to put pressure on their opponents, keeping the advantage until they took the opening set 25-16.
In the second set, however, Luke Smith took to the court on the Australian side of the net. The first part of the set was a very close one and the two teams were going head-to-head, trading points until the Volleyroos edged ahead at 16-12 and levelled the match at 25-17.
Tunisia resorted to Hamza Nagga, but the development of the third set reflected the previous one. Ali Bongui’s return did not prevent Australia from winning 25-19 and taking a 2-1 lead in the match. The fourth set confirmed the first one was some kind of an accident for Australia along the way to success. The Volleyroos improved their reception and attack, and led one more time by opposite Williams, they took the fourth set 25-16 and the match 3-1.