Poland edged closer to the men's FIVB World Cup title with a four-set win over Russia ©FIVB

Reigning world champions Poland moved one step closer to claiming the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Men’s World Cup crown as they beat hosts Japan in four sets to maintain their unbeaten record in Tokyo.

The Polish side came into the match full of confidence having proved too strong for closest-rivals the United States in their previous encounter but started in sluggish fashion, dropping the opening set 26-24.

That seemed to spark them into life, however, as they began to find their form and were able to recover from the difficult start to claim a 24-26, 27-25, 25-21, 25-19 victory.

Bartosz Kurek was the star performer for Poland, who won the FIVB World Championships title for the second time in their history in 2014, as he scored 18 points, although it was a Japanese player who topped the scoring charts as Yuki Ishikawa claimed 24.

Ishikawa’s impressive showing mattered little however as the Polish team were able to secure their 10th consecutive win.

Poland will seal the men’s FIVB title, as well as one of the two available Rio 2016 qualification spots, on the final day of action tomorrow should they overcome Italy.

Elsewhere on the penultimate day, the United States bounced back from their disappointing defeat at the hands of the Poles as they cruised to a comfortable 25-23, 26-24, 25-17 victory against Russia.

The United States recovered from their loss to Poland by thrashing Russia in straight sets to keep their Rio 2016 dream alive
The United States recovered from their loss to Poland by thrashing Russia in straight sets to keep their Rio 2016 dream alive ©FIVB

The result in the Japanese capital keeps their hopes of claiming the second and final Rio 2016 berth alive and they will all-but seal their spot at next year’s Olympic Games if they beat Argentina tomorrow.

The Americans appeared keen to banish the demons of their loss to Poland as they came out in fighting form, dominating proceedings from the off on their way to their ninth win of the event.

The only other team in contention for the crucial second spot are Italy, who edged Argentina 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 16-14 in a five-set thriller today.

Osmany Juantorena produced a superb performance with a haul of 26 points to help his side clinch a vital win in their pursuit of a place at the 2016 Olympics.

Canada picked up their fourth win of the tournament as they made light work of Iran with a 25-23, 29-27, 26-24 win, while Australia also enjoyed a successful day thanks to a 25-19, 25-17, 25-19 victory in their match with Tunisia.

Egypt claimed a second win of the tournament, beating Venezuela 25-18, 20-25, 25-18, 25-20.

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