Australia promoted to World League Group One21 July 2014
VOLLEYBALL: The Australian men's volleyball team has been rewarded for their outstanding return to the World League by being promoted to Group One for the 2015 competition.
The Volleyroos will take on world number one Brazil, number three Italy, and number nine Serbia in home and away fixtures which promise to be much tougher than this year's Group two competition, which Australia won.
Although details are still being finalised, it's expected Australia will play Brazil in Sydney in June, with matches against Italy and Serbia also possible in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns.
Australia beat Netherlands and France in Sydney to qualify for this year's World League finals in Italy, but then lost this week to USA and the host nation to miss out on the semi-finals.
It was Australia's first World League appearance since 1999.
Coach Jon Uriarte said his team has to take on the best if they want to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
"It's another very tough year, but in the cycle looking for qualification for the next Olympics, it's the best possible preparation we could have," he said.
"We are proud about what we have been doing."
Captain Aidan Zingel is looking forward to the challenge.
"It's going to be excellent for us,' he said.
"To be in the top pool gives us a better chance, we'll be against the best teams in the world and hopefully by that stage we will be there with them. It's another year in our progression, everyone's going to improve, so who knows what's going to happen."
The Australians will return to Canberra next week and have been given one week off, before they come together to prepare for this year's Volleyball World Championships in Poland in September.
Ross Solly for Volleyball Australia