2005 FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX

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China v Brazil is headline act as World Grand Prix enters second week

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 28, 2005 – Sport is all about pushing yourself and competing with the best and the 2005 World Grand Prix continues to serve up those opportunities to the premier international teams in women’s Volleyball, with plenty of more captivating contests scheduled for Week Two, which starts on Friday.

Three more groups of four teams will play not-to-missed Volleyball in Korea, China and the Philippines but out of all the matches, the showdown in Macau between Olympic champions and world number one China and defending World Grand Prix champions and world number two Brazil will take centre stage.
Pic: Brazil finished the Tokyo leg unbeaten with three victories
The top of the table clash between two of the tournament’s three unbeaten sides will be played on Sunday at 08:00 GMT and is certain to contain all the drama of a final. Ask either of the coaches for their opinions and Brazil’s José Guimarães and China’s Chen Zhonghe have their lips firmly sealed, preferring to concentrate on their opening matches with China, currently in first place after three matches, and second placed Brazil having to contend with Germany (7th spot) and Poland (9th), who are ranked nine and 10 respectively in the world. Brazil has already played Poland beating them 3-0 (25-22, 25-10, 25-23) in Week One.

The other two groups also feature some key contests including a rematch between the Pan American Cup winners Cuba and world champions Italy in Manila. Cuba, who sit in third place with three wins from as many matches, beat Italy 3-0 (27-25, 25-20, 30-28) in Week One, leaving last year’s silver medallists in fifth spot with two wins and a defeat. The Netherlands, who also have a 2-1 record, and Thailand (0-3) will also be in Manila, expecting to make life difficult for the big guns.

Meanwhile, in Seoul, another fascinating showdown awaits between the number seven and eight teams in the world – Japan and Korea. Japan beat Korea 3-0 (26-24, 25-14, 25-18) in Week One in Tokyo but might find things a little more difficult on foreign soil in their efforts to build on their impressive first three matches where they won more than half, only losing to Brazil in a five-set thriller 3-2 (17-25, 17-25, 25-17, 25-21, 20-18). A new look USA side (1-2) are going through a rebuilding phase but the world number three still won’t be taken for granted while the Dominican Republic will be hoping for better things after losing their opening three matches.

Current standings after three matches: 1) China 2) Brazil 3) Cuba 4) Japan 5) Italy 6) Netherlands 7) Germany 8) USA 9) Poland 10) Korea 11) Dominican Republic
12) Thailand.

After three weeks of Preliminary Round action, the top six teams will enter the Final Round in Japan to play for the honour of 2005 World Grand Prix champion.