• Kyodo

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Japan lost in straight sets to Argentina at the FIVB Men’s World Cup on Monday and will miss out on one of the two qualifying berths the competition offers for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The top two teams here qualify for Rio but Japan’s 26-24, 25-22, 25-21 defeat means it can finish no higher than fifth at the round-robin tournament.

Masashi Nambu’s side (5-4) will now aim for a place in Rio through the final round of Asian qualifiers next year.

Japan’s Yuki Ishikawa scored a game-high 19 points while Facundo Conte led Argentina (7-2) with 13.

“We had a slow start in the first set. Our service was good. We had good moments and some bad ones,” said Nambu, whose team has two more games left against last year’s world champion Poland and Russia.

“I’m confident our young players will develop their skills by playing against a team like Argentina. We hope they can play better tomorrow. We try to play one game at a time here with spirit throughout the tournament. I’m confident the gap between us and the best teams is not that great now,” he said.

Poland defeated the United States 3-1 for a ninth straight win to take top spot in the standings. The Americans are second on 8-1. Italy beat Russia 3-0 and is also 8-1 in third place.

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