Rome, Italy, October 5, 2010 – Two big games which will go along way towards confirming the (positions 1-4) semifinalists at the FIVB Men's World Championship Italy 2010 will feature on day two of the third round on Tuesday with six-time champions and world No. 2 Russia taking on 1998 silver medalists and world No. 4 Serbia in the Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence at 17:00 (local time) before Olympic champions, world No. 3 and 1986 world champions USA play three-time world champions and world No. 5 Italy at 21:00 at the Palalottomatica in Rome.
After convincing Pool O and Pool P victories on the opening day against France and Argentina respectively , USA and Serbia just need one more win to book themselves a spot in the (positions 1-4) semifinals, while Italy and Russia, who are playing their first matches of the third round, must win to maintain any hope of qualifying for the final four elite, making these two games “quarterfinal” like.
Other matches on Tuesday sees Germany, who are playing for the first time in the third round, take on the surprise package of the Czech Republic in Pool R in Rome at 17:00 while Cuba, who have also yet to play, face Spain in Pool Q in Florence at 21:00.
The third round consists of four pools of three teams with the winners of each pool advancing to the semifinals for 1-4, second place proceeding to the 5-8 semifinals and third place playing the 9-12 semifinals.
Pool R in Rome
Oct 5: GER (11) v CZE (36) 5pm
It will be quite interesting to see how the Czech Republic team recovers, both mentally and physically, from last night's grueling five-set loss to Brazil that snapped their four-game string of victories. The German squad will be making its debut in the third phase of the competition following a modest third place in the first round in Trieste where they scored a victory over Canada and edged the North Americans by points-ratio. One convincing straight-sets win in the second round against Puerto Rico in Anconia catapulted the 11th world-ranked team to the group of the 12 finalists. History is in favour of the Czechs as they have a 14-4 record to show against their rivals and won their last contest 3-1 during the second round of World Championship’s past edition in 2006 at Hiroshima, Japan.
Pool O in Rome
Oct 5: USA (3) v ITA (5) 9pm
A full house is expected at Palalottomatica in the Eternal City for this confrontation between two teams among the top five rankings in the world. This classic battle is what many people refer to as a clash of trains. USA is coming off an explosive night where they practically demolished France with a fireworks show, and coach Alan Knipe took the opportunity to inform that ominiously, his side his playing better than at the beginning of the tournament. The hosts are making their debut in the third round after going undefeated through the first two phases with five wins. The Italians have a 19-14 lifetime record against USA but the Americans won their last match in four sets playing at home during the 2009 World League.
Pool P in Florence
Oct 5: RUS (2) v SRB (4) 5pm
Serbia, winners of three games in a row, came out victorious from its third round debut on Monday following a four-set win over the young side of Argentina ranked ninth in the world. Now, twenty-four hours later they have to go out and see how they fare against an even bigger opponent in powerhouse Russia currently positioned No. 2 in the rankings. The tall Russians breezed past through the first round going undefeated in their three outings in Modena and then lost one five-setter to Spain in Catania after over powering Egypt. Russia has an overwhelming 31-11 advantage in the head to head confrontations between the two sides and scored a straight-sets win in their last clash at the World League semifinals in Cordoba, Argentina this summer.
Pool Q in Florence
Oct 5: CUB (8) v ESP (37) 9pm
Cuba is one of the four teams making their first appearance in the third round of the FIVB Men's World Championship 2010 and they have a 4-1 win-loss record to exhibit including a five-set victory over world champions Brazil in the first phase of the competition. Fourth placed in the last two World Leagues and second at the Grand Champions Cup, the Cubans have an interesting combination of youth and experience. On the other side, Spain suffered a four-set defeat to Bulgaria on Monday. The last time these two teams were pitted together was 10 years ago in the Sydney Olympics with a victory for the Caribbean side. Cuba also has a 12-5 advantage in their head to head contests.
FIVB Press Department Director - Richard Baker
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