Madrid, July 8, 2003 – Serbia and Montenegro opened their bid for the FIVB $15
million World League title on Tuesday morning when they claimed a hard fought
3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 26-24) victory against a dangerous Czech team as the fight
got underway for this, the richest annual purse in men’s Volleyball.
The Czechs looked fresh and made clear, in the opening phases, that they would
give the Olympic champions a run for their money, and fielding a lineup of
200cm-plus players made Serbia and Montenegro work for every point.
But although Serbia and Montenegro won the match in straight sets, captain
Nikola Grbic admitted they had started slow in each set.
“Maybe we were a little sleepy, but we played very well at the end of every
set and that is what counts,” Grbic, the team’s elegant setter said after the
The Czechs perhaps suffered from a lack of experience and captain Ivo Gubs
said they had been disappointed with the result. “We had hoped to win at least
a set,” he said.
The lead changed hands frequently during all three sets but in the end it was
experience that won the day and Grbic said his side had sensed the nervousness
in the Czech lineup and tried to take advantage of it. “It is like a game of
chess;” he said. “We had our ups and downs. Now we must try our best to beat
Spain tomorrow and then we will have a place in the semifinals.”
Serbia and Montenegro’s coach Veselin Vukovic paid tribute to Grbic’s brother
Vladimir, whom he said had been mentally very strong. “And (Ivan) Miljkovic
played very well when it mattered, at the end of every set,” Vukovic said.
Ivan (The Terrible) Miljkovic, at 206cm the tallest on the court, shared
honors as top scorer with the Czech Republic’s Martin Lebl, both scoring 14
The Czech Republic meets Greece on Wednesday in their second and decisive