Four teams head into the final day of competition at the FIVB Women’s World Cup with a chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.
The top two teams in the round-robin tournament after Sunday’s final round of matches will be guaranteed a spot in next year’s Olympics in Rio.
Qualification is determined by win-loss ratio. However, if two teams finish with the same record the tie breakers are competition points, sets differential and then points differential.
Here are the possible scenarios for all four teams on Sunday.
Current position: 1st (27 points).
Tournament record: 9-1.
Final opponent: Japan @ 6.20am ET, Sunday.
The three-time World Cup winners control their own destiny but face the toughest final-day clash of the top four teams. If Japan wins they are in and will finish in top spot. They can still finish in the all-important top two with a five-set loss because they would pick up one consolation point. But if they lose in either three or four sets they will need two of the other three contenders – Serbia, USA and Russia – to lose.
Volleyverse prediction: First place
Current position: 2nd (24 points)
Tournament record: 9-1
Final opponent: Argentina @ 1.10am ET, Sunday.
The Serbians might be in second spot but are arguably the most vulnerable team heading into the last day. A win over Argentina will guarantee them their spot in Rio due to their superior win-loss record over Argentina. But if they lose they will need both USA and Russia to lose – a highly unlikely event given Russia are playing winless Algeria.
Volleyverse prediction: Second place
Current position: 3rd (25 points)
Tournament record: 8-2
Final opponent: Dominican Republic @ 2.10am ET, Sunday.
Karch Kiraly’s team surrendered top spot with a loss to Russia on Friday and now must rely on China and Serbia to lose to make the top two. They could finish as high as first and as low as fourth. If they beat the Dominican Republic as expected but China and Serbia both win, the U.S will finish third. But if the world-number ones win their final match and either of the top two lose the U.S will finish no lower than second. If Japan and Serbia both lose the Americans will win their maiden FIVB Women’s World Cup.
Volleyverse prediction: Third place
Current position: 4th (24 points)
Tournament record: 8-2
Final opponent: Algeria @ 11.10am ET, Saturday.
The best the Russians can do is second place after Saturday’s loss to China. It’s pretty simple – they have to beat Algeria in four sets or less, which they’ll do easily, but then have both the U.S and Serbia lose. It’s a long shot but stranger things have happened.
Volleyverse prediction: Fourth place