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Ambitious Belgium aim to progress from World League Pool I1

Belgium take on France, Italy and Canada in World League Pool I1
Antwerp, Belgium, June 14, 2017 - With the exception of the Italian delegates, who were delayed by their flight to Brussels, representatives of the teams participating in 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League Group 1 Pool I1 from June 16 to 18 attended a press conference at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Antwerp on Thursday.

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Home team Belgium are hoping to qualify for the Finals in Curitiba, Brazil, which would be a first in the history of Belgian volleyball. And the Lotto Arena in Antwerp is likely to be packed for the occasion.

“Perhaps we are the team with the lowest ranking in this pool, but we have showed already that we are better than we previously thought,” said Belgium captain Sam Deroo, who is one of France captain's teammates at Polish champions ZAKSA K?dzierzyn-Ko?le.

“It will be difficult in each game, but if we win two matches this weekend, we will be sure of the Final 6. We have already won against each of these teams in the past, but it will not be easy. Our advantage is perhaps our motivation and our spirit to reach a historical result. Playing for our home public is an advantage as we saw in previous weeks.

Italy will not be easy, even if they have only won one match, but the players all come from one of the best competitions in the world and they will show that in Antwerp. And yes, my teammate Toniutti knows me very well - as I know him as well. We will not receive presents from France and I would not accept any. We have our destiny in our hands.”

But Belgium are not the only team that will reach the Final Six. “I’m confident as we are playing better every week,” confirmed Canada coach Stephane Antiga. “Belgium and us have both won three games, so the first match between us will probably be decisive.”

Of course French coach Laurent Tillie is a happy man with six wins from six matches in two weeks. France are the only team who remain unbeaten in the competition. “We are sure to play the Final Six, but that doesn’t mean we won’t play for another good result. With this new, young team we also have a new spirit. I’m surprised about their technique, their serve, their defence. And even with some tired players we will see this weekend as preparation for the Finals in Brazil.”

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