Milan, Italy, September 23, 2010 – The 17th edition of the FIVB Men’s World Championship is less than two days away with all 24 teams having arrived in Italy on Thursday with Volleyball’s premier tournament getting underway on Saturday at 5pm.
A total of 78 matches will be played across 10 cities in Italy from September 25 through to October 10 with two-time defending champions Brazil coming into the tournament as hot favourites in the middle of an unbeaten run of 13 matches in FIVB tournaments which includes of a record ninth FIVB World League title in July. Putting aside two World Championship warm-up defeats to Germany, the world No. 1 has been almost untouchable in recent years having won eight of the past 10 World Leagues, two Grand Champions Cups, two World Cups plus a 2004 Olympic Games gold medal and the 2002 and 2006 World Championship titles.
Looking to push them close will be world No. 2, six time world champions and the most successful country in men’s Volleyball Russia, who finished as runner’s up to Brazil in the 2010 World League final while world No. 3 USA are also serious contenders having beaten Brazil in the 2008 Olympic Games final in Beijing.
Round one of the 2010 Men’s World Championship is split into six pools of four teams with the top three sides advancing to the second round.
Pool A in Milan includes hosts Italy, Japan, Egypt and Iran with Egypt and Iran opening proceedings in a repeat of the 2009 Grand Champions Cup clash which saw Iran win in five sets while Italy will be looking to maintain their dominance over Japan having won 21 of their 28 encounters to date.
Pool B in Verona offers a mouth-watering clash with Brazil and the young and dynamic Cuba in the same group. Brazil play Tunisia in the opening game having never lost to their African opponents in seven encounters while Cuba take on Spain in the late match at 9pm.
Pool C in Modena sees Russia play world No. 21 Cameroon for only the second time with Russia winning their only encounter at the 1989 World Cup in straight sets. Australia and Puerto Rico will also play for only the second time with Australia having won their first encounter at the 2007 World Cup in four sets.
Pool D in Reggio Calabria sees an all-South American affair start proceedings with Venezuela taking on Argentina followed by the 1986 world champions USA playing their neighbours Mexico having won two of their three previous encounters.
Pool E in Turin opens with world No. 12 France playing world No. 36 the Czech Republic followed by 2006 World Championship bronze medalists Bulgaria up against China in a fascinating group while Pool F in Trieste sees 2006 World Championship silver medalists Poland take on Canada with Germany playing World League bronze medalists Serbia in another tough pool.
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FIVB Press Department Director - Richard Baker
Mobile. +39 334 914 1332