PRESS RELEASE 30.10.2004


Strong pools of equal level

Belgrade, October 30, 2004. The drawing of lots for the 2005 Men's European Championship marked the start of the most prestigious European volleyball competition. During a special ceremony in Belgrade (SCG) the twelve best European teams were drawn into two groups of six teams each. The event, which is sure of attracting many people worldwide, will take place in the capitals of Serbia & Montenegro and Italy from 2 until 11 September 2005.

The drawing of lots was witnessed by several honorary guests. Opening up the official ceremony the Lord Mayor of Belgrade, Mr. Nenad Bogdanovic, welcomed the audience and expressed his gratitude in being able to organise such an important European event. Next to the competitive side of the Men's Senior European Championships he also stressed the importance of friendship and collaboration between the two organising nations. 'Belgrade and Rome share similar cultural and traditional values, only being divided by a sea', emphasised Mr. Walter Veltroni, Rome's Mayor, 'In 2005 we will join hands for the European Volleyball Championships, doing our best to prove worthy hosts for this important competition of one of the most popular sports in Europe.'

Following the hosting Mayor's speeches the President of the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV), Mr. André Meyer, took the stage, inviting everybody present at the Drawing of Lots to attend the Final Round in Belgrade as well as the Final Four in Rome: 'We are sure that this event, which has been organised by two cities for the first time in the European Volleyball history, will be a huge success, for Rome, Belgrade, as well as for the CEV and European volleyball.' The Presidents of the two hosting Federations, Mr. Carlo Magri (ITA) and Mr. Aleksandar Boricic (SCG), stressed the successful friendly relationship of the two countries, thanking the CEV for being able to organise the European Championships in unison. 'It is a great privilege for the Serbia Montenegrin Volleyball Federation to be part of the organisation cooperating together with the Italian Federation. I'm sure that this will give the incentive for many other European countries to be connected in such an ideal sportive manner.'

Following the drawing of lots, Italy, Russia, Poland, Croatia, Ukraine and Portugal will face each other in Pool I in Rome where the Olympic silver medallist Italy and the Olympic bronze medallist Russia are the clear favourites. However, Poland will be a strong challenger just missing the Final Four in 2003 after finishing third behind Serbia & Montenegro and Russia. For Croatia, Ukraine and Portugal it will be extremely difficult to reach the next round. Nevertheless, all participating teams are looking to get far with the aim of producing one or the other surprise. 'Pool I is very strong with Italy and Russia', commented Croatian head coach Mr. Vladimir Jankovic, 'therefore we will already be very happy if we reach third place.'

Pool II is more open with many candidates being able to reach the semifinal stage. Host Serbia & Montenegro is the favourite backed by the support of their home crowd but France and the Czech Republic stand an equal chance of making their way to the Final Four in Rome. The Netherlands as an outsider will aim to reach the last four for the first time since 1997 when the Dutch team won the European Championship. 'The pool is relatively balanced', commented Mr. Philip Blain, the head coach of the French national men's team, 'Again we will meet the Netherlands whom we'll also compete against during the qualification round for the next World Championships.'

Finally, the two Mediterranean countries of Spain and Greece will play a key role in making the decision which two teams will go through to the next round. 'I am very pleased with the way the two pools were drawn by the CEV' stated Serbia Montenegrin national volleyball player Mr. Vladimir Grbic, 'both pools are of equal level. Even though Russia and Italy are not in our pool we'll be playing against teams such as France, Spain, and Greece, who have all shown good results in the previous year. All in all we will most definitely experience exciting encounters with unusual results as well as surprises in both pools, but that is the whole beauty of volleyball.' Play will start in Belgrade on 2 September 2005, the day of the official opening ceremony, whereas the first match in Rome is scheduled for 3 September 2005. The preliminary pool phase will come to a conclusion on 7 September 2005 in Belgrade and 8 September 2005 in Rome. The first two ranked teams of each preliminary pool will be qualified for the semifinals which will be played in Rome on 10 September 2005. As the Men's European Championship is being played in two different countries there will be no classification matches for places five until eight. The final is scheduled for Sunday 11 September 2005 in Rome.

The match schedule will be released at the latest on 15 November after confirmation of the CEV and TV partners.

Men's Senior European Championship 2005
Results Drawing of Lots.

Pool I, Rome: Italy, Russia, Poland, Croatia, Ukraine and Portugal Pool II, Belgrade: Serbia & Montenegro, France, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain, Greece.

A complete review of the drawing of lots including quotes will be released around 1900 CET.

Opening Ceremony (Belgrade): 2 September 2005
Pool I: 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 September 2005
Pool II: 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 September 2005
Semifinals (Rome): 10 September 2005.
Final & Bronze medal match (Rome): 11 September 2005.

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