After four weekends of competition, Canada’s 2013 World League group phase is now coming to an end. The real question is: who will move on to the final round?
As it stands, Canada sits in second place in Pool C, a mere point behind The Netherlands. Both teams hold the very same record for 6-2, but the Dutch lost a tight five-setter to Portugal, which gave them a single point despite the loss.
Canada has clinched a top-two finish, but only the top team will move on to the Final Round in Mar Del Plate, Argentina.
The final test for Glenn Hoag’s men comes in the form of Japan, who in 5th place with a record of 3-5. Japan has had a disappointing World League, only able to win one match away from home. Unfortunately for the Canadian team, Japan’s home record is untarnished, after sweeping Finland in the third weekend. That was no fluke; Japan is an extremely difficult team to play at home.
Japan will also be motivated by the very likely chance of relegation. The bottom two teams in Pool C will have to drop down and play the winner of the qualifiers at a later date in the summer.
While Canada and The Netherlands are gunning at full speed for top of the pool and a berth in the Final Round, the rest of the group are still in a position to be relegated. In other words, no one is likely to take an off week.
For Canada to move on to the Final Round, they not only have to win both matches and receive the full three points (so either a 3-0 or a 3-1 win), and The Netherlands have to falter against Finland. A loss by the Dutch will give Canada the pool, a five-set win will create a tie.
Luckily for us rooting for the Canadians, the Dutch will be up against Finland, a team who will be very eager to please their home fans after watching their home side get swept by Canada last weekend.
No matter the outcome of the matches, they'll be sure to be ones you don't want to miss. Rogers Sportsnet will be showing the matches on tape delay on Saturday July 6th at 1 p.m. EST and Sunday July 7th at 1 p.m. EST. Don't get Sportsnet? Volleyball Source Magazine will be providing you with all the Live Streams.