Saitama and Matsumoto, 17th November 2007 – The FIVB Volleyball World Cup 2007 for Men will start tomorrow in Saitama and Matsumoto. After the huge success of the Women’s tournament, with outstanding market share percentages announced by the Host Broadcaster Fuji Television, the big battle for three places in Beijing entry list it’s on the launching pad.
The 12 Head Coaches had today a press conferences in each site, to explain to the media their dreams and expectations about one of the world most famous FIVB event.
Big news was already raised with the presentation of the 12 players list (available on the FIVB web site www.fivb.org), which confirmed the absences of the World League Final Round MVP Ricardinho Garcia, usually Brazilian starting setter, and the Australian star Daniel Howard.
HEAD COACHES PRESS CONFERENCE IN TOKYO
Jon Uriarte (Argentina)
The road to qualifying for this World Cup has been really tough for us. One of the main goals in Argentina is to create a new generation of players, and this process is delicate and difficult. So to qualify for the World Cup during this process is something really important. I think we still need a couple of years to pass from those players who show potential to be asked to perform consistently in the biggest competitions. I think Doug Beal (USA volleyball legend) said a player needed to play 100 international matches to reach their potential, and our young players are still a way off that. Even if we are creating a new generation of players, we still have to take responsibility and present the best team we can in a big tournament. We have a tradition of performing well in international competitions, so we have to consider both demands.
Russell Borgeaud (Australia)
We love coming to Japan and obviously many of the top world tournaments are held here. This is our first trip to the World Cup and our team is in good shape and looking forward to the competition. We came here for the first time as representatives of Asia, not just our country. (Dan) Howard is a difficult man to replace in our team, but we still have Benjamin Hardy, who is the captain and still very important, and we have a number of exciting young players who are improving each year. (Paul) Carroll and (Igor) Yudin are particularly exciting.
Tatsuya Ueta (Japan)
The World Cup is being held in Japan so we would like to show what our team is made of. We will take every game seriously in order to show what we have prepared and give our best performance.
Yoo Jung-Tak (Korea)
We received a wild card to compete in the World Cup so first of all I would like to say thank you for that and for this opportunity. Since we have been invited we would like to show our best in every game. I have tried very hard to build a team with speed and height and now we would like to increase the teamwork and the power. We have a lot of young players who are growing gradually and we hope this World Cup will be a good experience for them in order to get a ticket for the Beijing Olympics next year.
Vladimir Alekno (Russia)
The European Championship was held in Moscow and we will try to utilise what we learned from that in this World Cup. We would like to achieve two things: qualify for the Olympic Games and show the best form we have. There are no weak teams. We will take it match by match. Not specifying certain teams is what is important.
Antonio Giacobbe (Tunisia)
Last year (in the World Championship) I remember we played a very close match against Japan. I hope to repeat only the kind of play, but not the result. We hope to change the result and enjoy the result this time. The match against Argentina is like a derby because they are more Italian than me! There are many friends in the Argentina team, starting with the coach, and strong players like Milinkovic who played for my club in Italy. Argentina has a lot of young players, like my team, and teams going through this kind of process must suffer and must test themselves in hard competition to discover their level. This is a transition period for my team.
HEAD COACHES PRESS CONFERENCE IN MATSUMOTO
Bernardo Rezende (Brazil)
It will be a tough competition. Eleven matches in 14 days. First, it will test us physically and there are a lot of good teams here. Our main goal is to qualify for the Olympics. We have a tough schedule from the start, playing the USA and Spain. All teams have had little time to prepare but we’ll do our best to qualify for the Olympics. (About feeling any extra pressure because of the success of the Brazilian women’s team): We feel no extra pressure because the Women’s team was supposed to qualify for the Olympics. We already have enough pressure. Before the first match in a big tournament the tension is on, the pressure is on our shoulders and it will be an open game against the USA. We lost in the 2002 World Championships to them and it is always tough against them. They are well trained and coached.
Martin Stoev (Bulgaria)
The last 20 years we didn’t take part in the World Cup. That’s why for us this competition is very important because it is the first opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. Last year, we had a strong team and we showed all we could and were successful. There are no easy matches because there are very many strong teams in Japan now and the fact that every team will play 11 matches in 14 days means it will be very difficult job. (About the strengths of the Bulgarian team): The whole volleyball world knows what is strong in the Bulgarian team — the service — and the tactics will be various. We play 11 games so there may be 11 sets off tactics. For the tactics against Spain, I’ll tell you after the match.
Zakaria Ahmed (Egypt)
We are very happy to play in the World Cup. It will be the first time for me at the World Cup. We have prepared our team for two years, most of our players are young, we have eight players under 24 years old. The first seven matches we play are against very strong teams, then we play Korea and Australia, who are more our level. Hopefully we get a better position than the World Championships last year when we were 12th.
Marcelo R. Mendez (Spain)
We are very happy to be playing in the World Cup, but in the next 14 days we will play 11 matches in 14 days. It is going to be a tough two weeks for us. Each game will very important. We want to do our best to get as good a result as possible. We haven’t had sufficient time to practice as a team because all our players play for different club teams in different leagues but we will try to do our best to get a result. Because the great objective is to qualify for the Olympics, we will do our best. (About getting to know the players as a new coach in place of the European Championship winner, Anastasi, now Italy Head Coach): Out of 11 players, eight are from my club team I am coaching so I don’t have any concerns about getting to know players from this team. Although we other members from other clubs I am not concerned about this.
Carlos D. Cardona (Puerto Rico)
This is the first time for us to participate in the World Cup. In terms of preparation, we didn’t have sufficient time but we did our best anyway so we are in pretty good condition and the players are highly motivated as well. As other head coaches have said, 11 games in 14 days will be tough but we have to do this so we will do our best. These will be the first qualifying games for the Olympics and so it may be difficult to go through this time but nothing is impossible. (About the match against Egypt): We have lost to Egypt last year. We would like to do better than last year. For tomorrow, we are very firm in our mindset and we would like to do our best.
Hugh McCutcheon (U.S.A.)
We’re very happy to be here. Our preparation has been short and we understand the tournament will be difficult. The length of the tournament and quality of opponent means it will be tough but we will work hard to qualify for the Olympics. (About Brazil): It’s good to play Brazil early in the tournament. Even though are preparation was short, when you have a good quality first opponent your preparation is focused and very high. So even though we didn’t have much time, our preparation has been excellent.
COMPETITION SCHEDULE (1ST ROUND)
City date Local time Jpn GMT time Match
Saitama 18 Nov 13:05 04:05 Australia-Korea
Saitama 18 Nov 15:35 06.35 Argentina-Russia
Saitama 18 Nov 18:30 09.30 Japan-Tunisia
Matsumoto 18 Nov 12:35 03:35 Egypt-Puerto Rico
Matsumoto 18 Nov 15:05 06:05 Bulgaria-Spain
Matsumoto 18 Nov 18:05 09:05 Brazil-USA
Saitama 19 Nov 12:35 03:35 Australia-Russia
Saitama 19 Nov 15:05 06:05 Argentina-Tunisia
Saitama 19 Nov 18:00 09:00 Japan-Korea
Matsumoto 19 Nov 13:05 04:05 Bulgaria-Egypt
Matsumoto 19 Nov 15:35 06:35 Puerto Rico-USA
Matsumoto 19 Nov 18:35 09:35 Brazil-Spain
Saitama 20 Nov 12:35 03:35 Russia-Tunisia
Saitama 20 Nov 15:05 06:05 Argentina- Korea
Saitama 20 Nov 18:00 09:00 Japan-Australia
Matsumoto 20 Nov 13:05 04:05 Bulgaria-Puerto Rico
Matsumoto 20 Nov 15:35 06:35 Spain-USA
Matsumoto 20 Nov 18:35 09:35 Brazil-Egypt
“FOLLOW ME” BY ANDREA ZORZI. VIDEO INTERVIEWS WITH THE WORLD CUP STARS ON THE FIVB WEBSITE
Andrea Zorzi, the former Italian national Volleyball player and two times World Champion, will continue his special blog “Follow Me” from the FIVB website home page. As during the last World League, World Grand Prix and Women’s World Cup, Zorzi will produce articles and video interviews in Japan with the Head Coaches and top players, revealing the secrets of the game and players’ life, raising the curtain on the backstage of the FIVB event.