Milan, Italy, September 30, 2010 – Mexico will "keep on dreaming" as they prepare to continue their adventure in the FIVB Men's World Championship, having got past the first round for the first time since 1978. The second round in Milan features Jorge Lopez's side in Pool H alongside Cuba and Serbia, while France, Argentina and Japan are grouped in Pool M.
"It is the first time in history that we are through to the second round," Lopez said. "We know Serbia and Cuba are well above us, but we are playing well and hope to maintain our highly-effective serve in order to make it tough for them. We will keep on dreaming."
Mexico have competed in three editions of the FIVB World Championship (1974, 1978 and 1982) and advanced to the second phase in 1974 (when they finished 10th) and in 1978 (when they finished 12th). However, it is the first time they have reached the second round in its current format, which has been in place since 1998.
The first match on Thursday sees Cuba take on Serbia in a rematch of the 2010 World League bronze medal match which Serbia won in five sets – a victory that enhanced their good record against Cuba whom they have beaten in 16 of 23 matches. Then France will play Argentina. The South Americans hold the head-to-head advantage with nine victories from 17 matches, including a win in their last match in the 2009 World League Preliminary Round.
Day two sees Japan take on France while Mexico will play Cuba in the 9pm game. On day three Serbia will play Mexico for the first time in their history before Argentina take on Japan. The top two teams in each pool will advance to the third round.
Press conference quotes from the other coaches:
"We are conscious we will be facing two very strong teams," Cuba coach Orlando Samuels said. "Serbia in particular is always a great contender for medals in the big events."
"I have great respect for Cuba and Mexico," Serbia coach Igor Kolacevic said."This year we've already faced Cuba many times, whereas it will be our first match ever against Mexico. We will do our best. We are aiming for the third round."
"The pool is a tough one obviously, because there are only good teams at the World Championship. We remain focused on our performance and hope to go on like this," France coach Philippe Blain said.
Tatsuya Ueta, the only coach remaining from the first round in Milan, said: "We played some very intense matches where we battled right until the end. The second round will also be very tough, but we're improving day after day and we will try our hardest to qualify for the third round."
Assistant coach Flavio Leoni spoke on behalf of the Argentina team with coach Javier Weber suffering from a headache. "We are very proud to be here. The first round was difficult and now we face two other strong opponents in France and Japan."
FIVB Press Department Director - Richard Baker
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