Japan, 25 Nov - Cuba is 2001 Grand Champion Brazil second, Yugoslavia
Cuba wrapped up its
triumphant campaign by winning its fifth consecutive
match, bulldozing Argentina into submission 3-0 (25-18,
25-17, 26-24) on Sunday.
The win is Cuba's first World Grand Champions
Cup title, finishing third in 1997 and 1993, and only
its third major men's volleyball title. The NORCECA
champion's previous wins were the 1998 World League and
1988 World Cup.
Brazil finished second in the men's volleyball
tournament, Yugoslavia third, followed by Korea, Japan
The Cubans entered the final match against winless
Argentina knowing all they had to do was keep the focus
they had shown it their previous five matches and the
US$400,000 first prize was theirs.
But they had obviously determined they wanted to
finish the way they had started on Day 1, when they
overpowered Olympic and European champion Yugoslavia in
They needed just 20 minutes to take a 1-0 lead with
Cuba's attacking duo, B. Leonel Marshall and Angel
Dennis, too powerful to be suffocated by Argentina's
Setter Alain Roca again directed the play
beautifully, creating space all over the net for the
It was Dennis, who had dominated throughout the
event, who struck the attack to bring up match point,
with a Pavel Pimienta block that gave Cuba the
Dennis said, "We trained so hard for the
tournament that I'm very happy to win the title. We
finished third in the last appearance in the event, so I
wanted to have some better results this time. The first
victory over Yugoslavia gave us much confidence and that
is the reason we could win all the five
B. Leonel Marshall, who lined-up with Dennis for the
most intimidating offensive duo in the tournament, said
the championship meant much to them. "The victories
here will help us a lot for next year's world
Captain Ihosvany Hernandez said, "I'm glad to
win the tournament and we will try our best for the 2004
Brazil lost a five-set marathon to Cuba,
25-21,22-25,20-25,25-20,15-11 on Friday, but proved its
strength with a 3-0 pounding of Yugoslavia on Saturday
to finish second.
Yugoslavia finished third, but failed to live up to
the expectation, suffering from lack of preparation.
Most of its players were involved in the Italian
professional league with the team only getting together
three days prior to this event.
Captain Nikola Grbic said, "I'm disappointed
with our performances here. Lots of people expected us
to win the tournament and our ambition is the same, but
unfortunately we failed to do it."
"Usually it takes several months to prepare for
a tournament, but we had only three days training
together before we came here. We need more time to
prepare and to be together for next year's World
Championship. I hope we could do better there, at least
to get into the finals," he said.
The top three teams created a huge gap to the other
three participants, Korea, Argentina and Japan.
Asian champion Korea finished fourth with two wins,
Japan fifth with one win, with Argentina sixth winless.
Bottom of the table Argentina, which finished fourth
at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, felt little
frustration from their setback.
Head coach Carlos Getzelevich said, "Playing
good games in the tournament is more important for our
young players, and the experiences of playing against
world top teams, like Cuba, is very significant for
1 Cuba US$400,000 2 Brazil US$250,000 3 Yugoslavia
US$200,000 4 Korea US$150,000 5 Japan US$125,000 6
Argentina US$ 75,000
Player: Miljkovic Ivan YUG
Miljkovic Ivan YUG
Attacker: Kim Sang-Woo KOR
Geric Andrija YUG
Dennis D. Angel CUB
Tsumagari Katsutoshi JPN
Roca B. Alain CUB
Receiver: Mijic Vasa YUG