After a slow start, Belgium were too strong for the home side Australia
Sydney, Australia, June 17, 2016 - Belgium's Sam Deroo leads his side to a comprehensive 3-0 (29-27, 25-18, 25-22) win at Homebush Stadium in Sydney, against hosts Australia.
Belgium silenced the host nation with star Deroo on top form as they once again put Australia, without captain Tom Edgar as he succumbed to the abdominal injury that gave him so much discomfort at the Olympic qualifiers. Replacement Paul Carroll tried to galvanise the home support with 22 points.
The Kangeroo's Carroll quickly showed he was more than a worthy replacement for Edgar, his power game combined with the blocking of Aidan Zingel helping Australia to an early lead. But after leading for the early part of the set, Australia’s Nehemiah Mote suffered a knee injury which forced him from the court. Belgium captain Sam Deroo was quiet early, with Gert Van Walle and Tomas Rousseaux doing much of the heavy lifting. Australia had three set points, but each time Belgium shut the home team down. It was frustration for Australia, who also struggled to close out matches at the Olympic qualifiers, as Belgium’s Matthias Valkiers pulled off a block on a Nathan Roberts spike to give the visitors the opening set 29-27 on a tie-break.
Belgium raced out to an early lead in the second set, with Deroo coming into top form and Rousseaux continuing to blast his way past the Australians. But Carroll pulled together some important points to bring Australia back to the Belgians. They couldn’t get ahead though, and with Deroo getting better as the game went longer the Belgians were always in front and they duly closed out the second set 25-18 for a 2-0 lead.
In the third set it was Van Walle, who alongside Deroo were becoming a potent duo within the game. Belgium took an early lead, and except for a minor comeback led by the resilient Carroll, the Europeans never looked in any doubt as they rounded out a comprehensive straight-sets victory with a 25-22 win.