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Brazil and Italy make Pool B tough prospect

(L-R): Ondrej Marek (Czech Republic), Massimo Barbolini (Italy), Jose Roberto Guimaraes (Brazil), Avital Selinger (Netherlands), Carlos Cardona (Puerto Rico), Hidehiro Irisawa (Kenya)

Hamamatsu, Japan, October 28, 2010 – If the common consensus is that Olympic champions Brazil and the 2007 FIVB World Cup and 2009 FIVB Grand Champions Cup winners, Italy, are the teams to beat in Pool B, that view is unlikely to be contradicted by their rivals in Hamamatsu.

Speaking at a press conference on the eve of the FIVB Women’s World Championship opening matches, Czech Republic assistant coach Ondrej Marek spoke not just for his squad when he said: "The best teams of this group are of course Italy and Brazil." The Czechs open their campaign against the Netherlands and Marek added: "We have to fight with the Netherlands, Kenya and Puerto Rico for the position to go to the next round."

While the Czechs believe they face a tough task to reach the second round, Kenya's Japanese coach, Hidehiro Irisawa, said any win in the section would be a historic moment for his players, who are hoping to inspire more Africans to play Volleyball.

Kenya face Brazil in Pool B's opening fixture on Friday and the South Americans' coach, Jose Guimaraes, said: "Our group is very difficult." Ominously for their opponents, however, he added: "Our team are in a very good condition. We are hoping to get to the final like we did in 2006."

"This is a very difficult pool. We have very tough matches ahead," Italy coach Massimo Barbolini said. "We are ready to start. I'm sure that my players will do their best."

Barbolini also voiced his approval of the formula which allows the top four from each six-team group to advance to the second round. "This formula is a good formula," Barbolini said in response to a journalist's question. "It is better if at the end the best four teams go to the quarterfinal, not only the best two teams. At the end, the best team in the world will win, so I think it's good."
"We are going to try our best to get to the second round for the first time," Kenya coach Irisawa added. "I went to Kenya to teach Volleyball about ten months ago. It's an honour to be the coach of the Kenyan team. I'm thinking of playing a Japanese style of volleyball. It would be a historic moment for our players if we could win one game at this level."
Netherlands coach Avital Selinger is looking forward to facing the Czech Republic and said: "My team are in great shape and very anxious to start the competition. We will concentrate on trying to show our high level of volleyball every day. In this group with so many strong teams, it will be very difficult to predict the outcome of the matches. The only thing I'm sure is that my players will do their utmost to get the best result every time."

"Our objective is to go to the second round," Puerto Rico coach Carlos Cardona said ahead of his side's opener against Italy. "Our players are in their best condition and I'm sure they are going to try their best to go to the second round."


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