Lausanne, Switzerland, May 21, 2003 - It's action guaranteed when the whistle blows on Friday for week two of the FIVB $15 million World League, now with all sixteen top national teams joining the Intercontinental Rounds of the International Volleyball Federation's premiere annual men's tournament.
As an exception to the usual six week format of home and away matches, Pool D started one week early in the 2003 edition delivering an action-packed opening weekend where France, the World Championship bronze medallists, and Greece launched their campaigns with double victories over the Czech Republic and Japan. The two undefeated teams play hosts again with Japan traveling to France and the Czech Republic visiting Greece.
This weekend, however, the passion and excitement of the World League spreads to six other countries and features the first matches of defending champions Russia in Pool A, who open their account in Venezuela while in the same Pool Spain, the host of the World League finals in July, entertain Poland.
Pool B's opening matches include the key clash of World League super powers Italy, who are set to open their campaign against Portugal under their new coach Gian Paolo Montali while all eyes will be on World Championship title holders Brazil as they take on Germany at home.
Olympic and European champions Serbia and Montenegro, third last year, are strong favourites in Pool C and are expected to open their campaign victoriously when they travel to the Netherlands while Bulgaria plays host to a youthful Cuba line-up.
All four Pools are in action from Friday to Sunday and can be followed live with player profiles, match reports and all the latest information at www.fivb.org