Cooper relishes Algeria test
June 21, 2012 15:20 pm
Great Britain's women will get an early chance to size up some of their Olympic volleyball opposition when they tackle Algeria over two days in Glasgow this weekend.
Audrey Cooper's side are back on home soil after a successful tour of Finland - they won all five of their fixtures with their Scandinavian rivals - and meet Algeria in Glasgow on Friday and Saturday.
The weekend also marks a return home for captain Lynne Beattie, who is Glasgow-born, and she is looking to get as much out of the occasions as possible. The 26 year-old Las Palmas player said: "These matches will be a great opportunity to test ourselves against a team that we will face through the net at Earls Court."
Great Britain have also been grouped with the African champions at this summer's games, meaning the matches at Kelvin Hall will give them the opportunity to undertake an early scouting mission.
Beattie went on: "It will be a chance to gain a psychological advantage over them ahead of the Olympic Games encounter.
"Algeria will also present a great challenge at this point in our preparations and allow us to put all the hard work into action in front of a home crowd, giving us a small taste of what it will be like in London. To get the opportunity to play in front of a Glasgow crowd in a venue where it all began for me is going to be really special."
Beattie won her first international cap for Scotland against England at the venue nine years ago, and is now one of Cooper's key players. The games with Algeria represent the side's last fixtures before Cooper - a 1996 Olympian at beach volleyball - names her 12-woman squad.
And with other Olympic fixtures against Japan, Italy, Russia and the Dominican Republic on the horizon, the host nation are far from a shoo-in to progress from their group.
Beattie added: "There are no easy teams when it comes to the Olympic Games, but having played Japan, Italy and the Dominican Republic in recent years, and facing Algeria this week, we are confident that we can achieve our goal of reaching the top eight/quarter-finals.
"We are undoubtedly the underdogs of this tournament, but in front of a home crowd at the Olympic Games we firmly believe that we can cause these established teams problems and be the surprise package in our group."
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