Japan pulled off its sole victory in the FIVB $15 Million World League Intercontinental round on Sunday to sever Greece's slim chance of taking the last ticket to the finals in Brazil of this, Volleyball's richest annual competition for men. Instead, Yugoslavia, now undisputed second in Pool D, even with one match to go against Pool D leader France on Sunday night, takes the final place, while Japan and Greece are out.
Hosts Brazil, Poland, Italy, Spain, Russia, Netherlands, France and Yugoslavia are the eight team to contest the final round in the Brazilian cities of Recife and Belo Horizonte (Aug 13-18). The two groupings for the two cities will be announced from FIVB headquarters on Monday.
Teams went into the final round of this six-weekend competition with most of the decisions already made. Some teams also chose to rest up their key players ahead of the finals, knowing that the outcome of their final matches would not alter the results.
In Pool A, Brazil beat traditional South American rival Argentina 3-2 and 3-0 to consolidate their leadership, while Poland, the other qualifier scored two victories over Portugal to be the only team undefeated at home.
Italy, who has won eight of the 12 World League titles so far contested, won over Spain 3-1 in Pool B on Friday and their rematch on Sunday night has no effect on the outcome. China and luckless Venezuela, the only team not to win a match so far in the preliminaries meet on Sunday night in Venezuela, but then exit the competition.
In Pool C Netherlands went to Russia without ace Richard Schuil and Guido Gortzen and setter Nico Freriks also rested. Instead young players Joppe Paulides, Robert Horstink and Joram Maan all delivered fine performances that drew praise from Russian coach Guennade Chipouline. Russia won both matches 3-0, but Chipouline graced the visitors with a compliment saying: "It was a match of equal rivals." In this group, Germany and Cuba also round up their World League appearances.