Casablanca, Morocco, July 6, 2007 – The 2007 Men’s Junior Volleyball World Championship launches on Saturday here with the host team playing Japan in the opening day at the Complexe Sportif Mohammed V, but it is Russia that is here to try to capture their eighth World Title at this event to be played in the cities of Casablanca and Rabat between July 7th and 15th. The drawing of lots put the host country Morocco with Iran, Cuba, Italy, Japan and Bulgaria in Pool A, while Brazil, the defending champions Russia, Argentina, Egypt, U.S.A. and Slovenia are in Pool B.
Morocco, host team, will have strong support from the home crowd and will be aiming to improve the 11th position of the last Junior World Championship in India 2005, even if faced with strong opposition from the world’s elite teams.
Russia will have to work hard to retain the title. The squad of Viacheslav Zaitcev will contest Pool B (Rabat) and has Brazil, Argentina, Slovenia, USA and Egypt as opponents. Their first match on Saturday at the Salle Ibnou Yassine Agdal gymnasium will be against the South American champion, Brazil, silver medalists of the last two Junior World Championships in Iran 2003 and India 2005 and two time junior world champions (2001, 1993).
Meanwhile Cuba, NORCECAs champion is in good form and is ready to defend their bronze medal won in the last Junior World Championship 2005. The boys of Victor Garcia, a former national Cuban player and now coach of the team, will face Italy on Saturday in Casablanca. Players Yadier Sanchez and Raidel Delgado are the only 2005 bronze medallists that remain in the Cuban team.
Bulgaria is hoping to win their second World title since Cairo 1991 and will play Iran in Pool A in the opening match in Casablanca on Saturday. The team of Víctor Karagoizov count with towering Tsvetan Sokolov and Venelin Kadankov (2.05 m height each one). The goal of Iran is to improve their outstanding 5th position of the last Junior World Championship 2005.
Slovenia will make its debut ever in the Junior World Championship playing Argentina in Pool B in the opening match in Rabat, and USA, eighth in 2005, will face Egypt.
The matches will be held daily in three timings 10:00, 16:00 (except the first day in Casablanca that starts at 15:00) and 18:30. Morocco will play all of their matches in Casablanca at 18h30.
The first round composed by two pools of six teams each, which will play in a Round Robin system to determine the ranking. The teams will be clasified from 1-6. The teams ranked first and second advance to Semi Finals. The Semi Finals and play offs rounds consists of a total of 6 matches: two Semi Final matches for the rankings 1 – 4, two matches for the classification 5 – 8 and two matches for the classification 9 – 12. The Finals and play offs consists of a total of 6 matches: the winners of the Semi Finals will play the final, 1st – 2nd position. The losers of the Semi Finals will play for the 3rd and 4th rank position. The winners of the play off or the 5th – 6th position and the losers of the play off 5 -8 will play for the 7th – 8th position. The same will be applied for the position from 9 to 12.
The final will be played on Sunday July 15th in Casablanca. The FIVB Men's Junior World Championship will contribute in building a young breed of athletes from the five continents. Twelve teams will be rivaling for the glory, playing a total of 42 matches over 7 days. It is the second time since its creation in 1977 that the Junior World Championship is hosted by an African country. Egypt was the first one to host it back in 1991.