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Sunday, May 30, 2004
Final spots for volleyball tourney secured

Associated Press

Australia and the Netherlands won the final spots for the men's volleyball tournament at the Athens Olympics during separate qualifying tournaments Sunday.

The Australians advanced to the 12-team field in Athens despite losing to Iran on Sunday on the final day of a qualifier in Tokyo. The Dutch beat Spain in Madrid to finish its event undefeated.

The Australians lost 25-19, 26-24, 25-23 and tied China for third place but advanced because of a better points ratio.

France, which secured an Olympic berth Saturday, finished first with a 7-0 record after downing Algeria. Eight nations were competing in the seven-day, round-robin tournament. The overall winner and the best Asian team gained berths for Athens.

The rest of the men's Olympic field: Argentina, Brazil, Greece, Italy, Poland, Russia, Serbia-Montenegro, Tunisia and the United States.

In Madrid, the Dutch, the 1996 Olympic champion, beat Spain 25-20, 25-20, 26-24 to finish the four-nation event 3-0. Cuba finished 2-1 after beating winless Cameroon and will miss an Olympics for the first time since 1988.