F I V B  FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE VOLLEYBALL
PRESS RELEASE 26.05.2003

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FIVB $15 Million World League

Lausanne, Switzerland, May 25, 2003 – World Champions Brazil sacrificed only one set against Germany in their encounters this weekend in the FIVB $15 Million World League Intercontinental Rounds while Netherlands countered a first match attack by the Olympic champions, defeating Serbia and Montenegro in their second match. In other action, France, World Championship bronze medallists, were pounded by Japan in their opening encounter, even if they scrambled back to take the second match and restore their dignity. Japan, however, sent a strong signal that they are finding their form. Germany had a big task away to World Champions Brazil in Sao Paolo and made the trip with modest hopes. That they stole a set from the maestros in the second match before the intimidating and large crowds of Brazilian fans, is to their credit, especially as they went without ace Stephan Hübner, at home resting injured knee ligaments. Spain also had a tough but successful weekend, and this year’s hosts for the World League finals, held off Poland in two marathon tiebreakers, winning both equally fought encounters by holding their nerves when it mattered most. In other marathon match action, the promising young Cubans held on to beat Bulgaria in the tiebreaker in their first away encounter and were to meet on Sunday night for the rematch, but Portugal was twice humbled 3-0 by Italy, who looked confident in their debut under their new coach Gian Paolo Montali, who has praised his team’s spirit and took the opportunity to test new talent. Greece held out against World League newcomers Czech Republic in another tense tiebreaker and like Cuba, will have to wait until Sunday evening to see if they can double their luck in this round. By exception Pool D (Japan, France, Czech Republic and Greece) started the tournament one week early in 2003, so were contesting their second week, while the remaining eight teams launched their bid this weekend. In other action, France, World Championship bronze medallists, were pounded by Japan in their opening encounter, even if they scrambled back to take the second match and restore their dignity. Japan, however, sent a strong signal that they are finding their form. Germany had a big task away to World Champions Brazil in Sao Paolo and made the trip with modest hopes. That they stole a set from the maestros in the second match before the intimidating and large crowds of Brazilian fans, is to their credit, especially as they went without ace Stephan Hübner, at home resting injured knee ligaments. Spain also had a tough but successful weekend, and this year’s hosts for the World League finals, held off Poland in two marathon tiebreakers, winning both equally fought encounters by holding their nerves when it mattered most. In other marathon match action, the promising young Cubans held on to beat Bulgaria in the tiebreaker in their first away encounter and were to meet on Sunday night for the rematch, but Portugal was twice humbled 3-0 by Italy, who looked confident in their debut under their new coach Gian Paolo Montali, who has praised his team’s spirit and took the opportunity to test new talent. Greece held out against World League newcomers Czech Republic in another tense tiebreaker and like Cuba, will have to wait until Sunday evening to see if they can double their luck in this round. By exception Pool D (Japan, France, Czech Republic and Greece) started the tournament one week early in 2003, so were contesting their second week, while the remaining eight teams launched their bid this weekend.


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