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World League 2002 - Previews & Reviews
WRAP UP
Some of Europe's top teams surfaced this weekend to challenge volleyball's traditional giants in Round 2 of the FIVB's $15 Million World League with Netherlands Spain and France all enjoying the limelight.
Pool C (Netherlands, Russia, Germany and Cuba) is shaping up to be one of the most interesting contests this year with the Dutch in the lead after two victories (3-1, 3-1) against powerhouse Cuba. Last week they split the glory 1-1 with Germany.
Meanwhile both France and Spain are on a roll, sweeping the weekend ties when Spain hosted China and France traveled to Japan. Title-holder Brazil and Argentina both emerged victorious over Portugal and Poland while Greece tied 1-1 with Olympic Champions Yugoslavia, Italy defeated Venezuela and Argentina scored their second victory over Poland to complete the weekend action.
PREVIEW
Intercontinental Round Two Begins on Friday

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, July 2 - The shakeout in the 13th Edition of the FIVB $15 Million World League continues Friday with the start of Intercontinental Round Two, the second of six consecutive weekend clashes that culminate in the final round in Brazil (August 12-18).

Italy, the World League powerhouse over the last decade, had a confidence-building 2-0 away to China last weekend. Archrivals Brazil, who deprived Italy of last year's World League title, was shored up by 12,500 spectators at home last weekend, enough to demoralize Argentina 3-1 an 3-0 in the first round. Brazil now goes to Porto to play Portugal, who came away last weekend splitting the honours 1-1 with Poland. 

France, flushed with confidence after defeating Olympic Champions Yugoslavia twice in Paris and Dijon, now travel east to Japan. Last weekend Greece pulled off two victories against Japan (3-0, 3-1) to take a decisive step towards making the final eight. This weekend they face Yugoslavia a tough draw in front of partisan home crowds. 

Germany started well last weekend with a historic win over Netherlands, only to see their advantage slip when the visitors came back strongly in the next match. Germany has a tough draw this week away to Russia, who delivered a lesson in the sport to the young Cuban side to go up 2-0 in the first round.

Brazil, who last year swept through to the final match as the only undefeated team in the final eight, tops its pool, as does Spain, France and Russia.
In the past 12 seasons, the World League has amassed a huge following of spectators and millions of television viewers. It has distributed a staggering $76 million in prize money, with Italy taking the lion's share of $11.5 million. Perhaps the best indication of the tournament's dynamic growth is that the purse has grown from a mere one million dollars in 1990, when the competition first started.
This year the World League offers 15 of the 16 competing teams the perfect opportunity to size up their opponents ahead of the World Championship in Argentina (28 Sept - 13 Oct.). Germany is the only team that will not be in Argentina.