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Coaches look ahead as opening day approaches

Algeria coach Ikhedji Mouloud hopes his side can improve on their only other appearance in an FIVB competition at the 2008 Olympics when they finished 11th
Tokyo, Japan, October 28, 2010 – All 24 coaches at the FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 gave their thoughts on the eve of the competition which starts at 12.30 (local time)on Friday in Tokyo and at 13.30 in Hamamatsu, Matsumoto and Osaka.

Here are some key comments from each of the four press conferences on Thursday:

Pool A in Tokyo – Day One Matches
12:30 PER v ALG (first time to play each other)
15:00 SRB v CRC (first time to play each other)
18:45 POL v JPN (6:12)
Bronze medallists four years ago, Serbia, ranked No.9 in the world, are hopeful of a repeat performance according to coach Zoran Terzic who said at the official press conference for Pool A in Tokyo on Thursday that his team were aiming to hit top form from Day One. "We have never played against Costa Rica," Terzic said. "But if you want to play at a high level, you must play every game with 100 per cent of your power. We will start to play this way tomorrow. We are a young side but we hope to give our all throughout the tournament." On Serbia's opponents, Terzic elaborated: "It doesn't matter if it's Costa Rica or any other team. The World Championships are the World Championships and these are not friendly games. If Serbia wants to win tomorrow we must do our best."
The other teams in Pool A will also be looking to make their mark in the tournament, particularly the hosts, Japan. Coach Masayoshi Manabe knows that his challenge will be a tough one: "The other five teams [in Pool A] are very strong. That's my motivation. We must give our very best effort in every single match.  Our total strength will be required to achieve a good result." He acknowledged that the event would take its toll on the team, noting "We will have 11 matches in 17 days, so it's a tough competition."
"Japan is one of the favorites, maybe even a favourite for a medal," Poland coach Jerzy Matlak said. "We have a lot of advantages to win against Japan, I just hope we will do it."
Rounding out the pool are Algeria and Peru. Algeria's coach, Ikhedji Mouloud, took charge of the team in 2006, and said: "This is my second important international event, after the Beijing Olympic Games," he said. "I hope we'll achieve a better result that we did in Beijing. We have a young team and this is a great opportunity for them."

Pool B in Hamamatsu
13.30 BRA v KEN (5:0)
16:15 CZE v NED (0:3)
18.45 PUR v ITA (0:2)
The other coaches in Pool B reached the logical conclusion that the two world giants in their group, 2008 Beijing Olympic Games gold medallists Brazil and the 2007 FIVB World Cup and 2009 FIVB Grand Champions Cup winners Italy, will give them the biggest challenge. Czech assistant coach Ondrej Marek said that Italy and Brazil were the strongest teams coming into the competition, and he and his counterparts know tough tests await them all as they bid to reach the second round from a difficult-looking group. "Our group is very difficult. Our team is in a very good condition," Brazil coach Jose Guimaraes said. "We are hoping to get to the final like we did in 2006. Italy coach Massimo Barbolini said: "This is a very difficult pool. We have very tough matches ahead. We are ready to start. I'm sure that my players will do their best."
Kenya's Japanese coach Hidehiro Irisawa says a win would be a historic moment for his players, who are hoping to inspire more Africans to play Volleyball. "We are going to try our best to get to the second round for the first time. 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."

Pool C in Matsumoto
13:30 GER v KAZ (2:0)
16:15 USA v THA (11:1)
18:45 CRO v CUB (0:4)
The United States may have won this year's FIVB World Grand Prix, but coach Hugh McCutcheon is adamant that his team should not be considered favourites when they begin their FIVB World Championship campaign on Friday. "It was very important for us to have that result. It was a huge success for us, given that we didn't even make the finals a year ago, but we understand that there are so many strong teams here. We do not consider ourselves favourites here. Our goal is to try and keep evolving as a team and to be playing at our best (at the Olympics) in 2012."

Pool D in Osaka
13:30 RUS v DOM (5:0)
16:15 CAN v KOR (0:10)
18:45 TUR v CHN (0:1)
China's Yu Juemin noted the fact that the tournament provides a special chance for his team to step up on to the big stage. "This competition only comes around once every four years, I want to make this a test for my players because we have some new players."
Vladimir Kuzyutkin, coach of defending world champions Russia, was keen to see how his new-look team will perform. "We have almost an entirely new team to the championship squad," he said. "We usually have three or four new players for an event like this, but two years ago we replaced half the team. Our goal is to play good Volleyball. I must ensure that our new players gain the necessary experience to perform at this level."

Cuba No. 17 Gyselle de la Caridad Silva Franco turns 19 on Friday

(figures in brackets denote head to head record in FIVB competitions)
Times = local times

* Numbers in (brackets) denotes world ranking
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