LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 7, 2003 - Three of the World League star teams - Serbia and Montenegro, Italy and Brazil - all claimed victories in their opening matches in Week 4 of the $15million World League Intercontinental Rounds, which were completed on Saturday.
The Olympic and European champions Serbia and Montenegro relied on a mammoth 30-point haul from Ivan Miljkovic to come from two-sets-to-one down to snatch a 3-2 win in a five-set thriller (21-25, 25-21, 17-25, 25-17, 15-11) against Cuba. The win shunted Serbia and Montenegro to first-equal place in Pool C before other Pool members Bulgaria and the Netherlands played each other in Amsterdam on Saturday night with one of the surprise packages of the World League Bulgaria claiming their second Netherlands scalp in two nights with a 3-2 win (25-22, 26-24, 20-25, 21-25, 15-12). The eastern Europeans now lead Pool C by a point over the Netherlands and are well set for a charge towards the World League Finals.
The other surprise team of the Intercontinental Rounds, the Czech Republic, registered their fourth successive win on Saturday with a 3-0 win (25-23, 25-14, 26-24) over Japan in Ostrava. A purely remarkable performance by the World League debutants, who now sit in third spot in Pool D behind Greece and France. Greece reclaimed the lead in Pool D after they beat France 3-1 (25-20, 16-25, 30-28, 28-26) in their second game of the weekend on Saturday night in Patra. France had briefly held the top spot after beating Greece in the first match on Friday.
In Pool B, World League super powers Italy and Brazil, both playing away from home, comfortably registered victories over Germany (25-19, 26-24, 22-25, 25-16) and Portugal (25-21, 27-25, 25-22) respectively to remain joint leaders of the group.
The other Saturday result saw Poland reverse Friday night's loss to Venezuela with a 3-0 win (25-18, 25-13, 25-23) at home over the South Americans.
Earlier on Friday night, the defending World League champions Russia kept their unbeaten record in Pool A after seeing off Spain in five sets (25-18, 25-23, 24-26, 23-25, 15-9).
Week 4 of the World League Intercontinental Rounds concludes on Sunday with Cuba entertaining Serbia and Montenegro starting at 00:40 GMT, Spain hosting Russia (10:00 GMT), Italy playing Germany (13:00 GMT), the Czech Republic taking on Japan (12:30 GMT) and Brazil playing Portugal in the final game of the weekend at 16:00 GMT.
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