World League contenders Cuba kept their composure to overcome opponents and fellow World League contestants Portugal by 3-1 in a friendly encounter in Vila do Conde. Having lost yesterday’s match against their Portuguese hosts, Cuba were keen to prove they were capable of taking a win from this trip and, despite going a set down, the Cubans rallied to take the next three sets and victory. Along with competing in the 2004 World League in June and July, both teams are scheduled to perform in separate Olympic qualifying events: Portugal in Porto between May 21-23 and Cuba in Madrid between May 28-30.
Portugal effectively played with two teams in this game with coach Juan Diaz substituting one line-up after the first two sets for another in sets three and four. In the end, the final scoreboard read 25-20, 23-25, 18-25, 16-25 in favour of Cuba.
Cuba will travel to Madrid at the end of May to play in an Olympic qualifier where they will face Spain, the Netherlands and Cameroon while Portugal will come up against Kazakhstan, Venezuela and Poland in Porto from May 21st as they seek a place at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
When the 2004 World League gets underway on June 04, Cuba will compete in a preliminary round gorup against Serbia & Montenegro, Italy and China. Portugal's group consists of Brazil, Spain and Greece.