Rome, Italy, October 8, 2010 – It is unanimous, Cuba coach Orlando Samuel, Serbia coach Igor Kolakovic and Italy’s Andrea Anastasi all agreed at the official press conference for the FIVB Men’s World Championship semifinals that Brazil is the team to beat ahead of their respective matches with Cuba taking on Serbia and Italy facing Brazil in Saturday’s crucial semifinals.
The top four sides at this edition of the FIVB Men’s World Championship sees three – Brazil, Serbia and Cuba - of the top four sides from the 2010 World League.
The first semifinal sees a repeat of the second round encounter which Serbia won 3-1 (16-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-19) on September 30. It is also a repeat of the bronze medal playoff at the 2010 World League which Serbia also won 3-2 (28-30, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 15-12). Serbia in fact have won the last two “finals” against Cuba winning the bronze medal playoff and the 2009 World League semifinal. Overall Serbia leads the head to head matchup with 16 wins from 23 matches including eight of the last 10.
“It is a great honour to be here in Rome with these other three teams,” Cuba coach Orlando Samuel said. “It will be a difficult task to defeat Brazil, but we are a young team , and this semifinal will be an incredible opportunity to stabilize the technical level of the team.”
“Our first goal was to reach the semi-finals, and we are quite satisfied with this result,” Serbia coach Igor Kolakovic said. “Now we have to face Cuba which is a young team and which will be a complicated match.”
The second semifinal features a dream clash between the winners of the last five World Championships - the undefeated home side against two-time defending champions and world No. 1 Brazil.
“I am satisfied to be here after 10 days of grueling battles on the court,” Italy coach Andrea Anastasi . “The four teams have the same objective, play the final on Sunday October 10. Brazil is the team to beat and we will do our best to achieve this.”
“We will have to face some tough teams to reach the final,” Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende. “Italy is a strong team and will have the incredible support of its fans. It will be a high level match and whoever wins will access the final. I don’t see a favourite for the final. The difficult matches with Brazil were in the Olympic Final in 2004, and the World Championship quarter finals in 2006.
Brazil have won the last 11 matches against Italy dating back to the 2003 World League including the 2006 World Championships, 2004 Olympic Games final and the 2004 World League final.
FIVB Press Department Director - Richard Baker
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