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World League 2003 Press & News                                      

May 14, 2003 - Early start for Pool D; action guaranteed in Intercontinental Rounds

May 6, 2003 - Argentina out, Czech Republic in; China withdraw, Bulgaria in
 


News for POOL A
- Russia, Poland, Spain, Venezuela (Player Profiles)

News for POOL B - Brazil, Italy, Portugal, Germany  (Player Profiles)
News for POOL C - Serbia and Montenegro, Netherlands, Cuba, Bulgaria (Player Profiles)

News for POOL D - France, Czech Republic, Greece, Japan (Player Profiles)


Week One May 16-18                  Week Four June 6-8
Week Two May 23-25                  Week Five June 13-15
Week Three May 30-Jun 1          Week Six June 20-22
                              Week Seven June 27-29

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News for POOL A
    

                        
RUSSIA

Russia make only two changes
June 26, 2003 – Russian coach Guennady Chipouline named a virtual full-strength line up on Thursday for his team’s top of the table clash with Poland in Moscow during the final weekend of the $15 million World League Intercontinental Rounds this weekend. With the defending World League champions having already confirmed their spot in the World League Finals with a superb record of nine wins and only one loss in Pool A, stars like Pavel Abramov, who is the tournaments leading spiker with a 40 percent success rate, were expected to be rested for this weekend's matches before returning for the World League Finals, which will be held in Madrid, Spain from July 8-13. More Story by Vladimir Pesnya of the Russian Volleyball Federation.
Pic: Russian star Pavel Abramov will play this weekend

Rest time for Russia
June 25, 2003 - With the job of qualifying for the World League Finals already done the defending World League champions Russia will be taking the chance to rest some of their key members of their star team this weekend. More
Pic: Poland gave Russia their first loss last weekend
Story: Vladimir Pesnya from the Russian Volleyball Federation



Russia the ones to beat - Giovane
May 05, 2003 - Despite having beaten Russia in the 2002 World Championship last October, Brazil will be the underdogs going into the 2003 World League says one of the World Champion's oldest and most experienced players Giovane Gavio, according to a report on the official Brazilian Volleyball Confederation website. More

World League champs gear up for title defense

April 23, 2003 - Russia's defense of their 2002 World League title will start in earnest next month when the national men's side go into camp in their Olympic base in Moscow following the conclusion of their national competition. More
Pic: Russia beat Brazil in last year's final in Brazil

POLAND

Poland prepare well for World League
May 21, 2003 - Poland have beaten Estonia 3-2 in their final friendly match in Szczyrk on Tuesday night ahead of their opening World League matches against Spain in Valencia this weekend. More  Game one

Poland for 2003 World League: without Papke and Musielak
It was not an easy decision for Polish head coach Waldemar Wspanialy: surprisingly Pawel Papke and Rafal Musielak, players he would like to rely on, were not included in his final selection for 2003 World League. more

SPAIN - Click here for info on the World League Finals in Madrid, Spain July 8-13

Spain makes changes to face Russia
May 28, 2003 - Following two 3-2 victories over Poland last weekend Spain have rung the changes for their Pool A clash against World League champions and the number one team on the FIVB world rankings Russia in Belgorod this weekend. More
Story by Sergio Aguilera, Spanish Volleyball Federation

Spain set to face Poland without De la Fuente and Gens
May 23, 2003 - The Spanish national men's team will be missing star receiver Enrique De la Fuente and setter Jordi Gens for their opening 2003 World League Pool A match against Poland in Valencia on Saturday afternoon. More   Spanish version
Story by Sergio Aguilera, Spanish Volleyball Federation.
Pic: Piotr Gruska spiking during Poland's 3-1 win over Spain last year 


Spain beaten again in friendly with Brazil

May 07, 2003 - The Brazilian men's team finished their two-country European tour with a 3-1(25-16, 25-16, 19-25, 25-15) victory over Spain in Madrid on Tuesday wrapping up the two-match friendly series 2-0. The undefeated tour of Spain follows a 2-1 series win over the Netherlands last week, signaling that Brazil, who rested some of their big stars, will be one of the teams to beat ahead of the World League, which starts on May 23. Match stats  Game one report  Game one stats


Spain's Pascual returns to the World League after a year's absence

Rafael Pascual, who returns to World League after a year's absence, is the most outstanding new addition to the 18-man squad named by Spain's national coach Francisco Hervás to prepare for the 2003 World League. more
Story by Elvira Atanes Sanchez, Madrid

Rafael Pascal is Spain's star player

VENEZUELA

Venezuela prepare to host World League champions
May 20, 2003 - The national men's team of Venezuela has arrived in the little lakeside city of Cabimas, where they will host defending champions Russia this weekend in the opening round of World League Group A matches. Coach Miguel Cambero will be relying on the passionate home crowd support from fans from around the lake of Maracaibo and a little bit of the unknown to take on the No 1 team on the FIVB world rankings in this difficult encounter in Venezuela. More
Pic: The venue for this weekend's matches - Cabimas Dome in Cabimas City, Venezuela

Cambero will replace coach Suárez in Venezuela
April 25, 2003 - Miguel Cambero will replace Cuban head coach David Suárez in the national team of Venezuela during the World League. more.


Venezuela search for World League improvement 

April 22, 2003 - The Venezuelan national men's team has targ
eted small yet significant improvement as the goal for this year's World League. More 


News for POOL B

BRAZIL

Brazilian coach conscious of German threat
Despite a far superior 2003 World League record, Brazilian coach Bernardo "Bernardinho" Rezende is taking nothing for granted ahead of this weekend's two Intercontinental Round matches against Germany in Berlin. World Champions Brazil are in top spot in Pool B, ahead of Italy on Set Ratio difference, having won five of their six World League matches while Germany sit ahead of Portugal on Set Ratio difference at the bottom of the Pool with a solitary victory. More
Pic: Bernardinho says German's serve has troubled his team in the past

Nalbert rested for Brazilian trip to Portugal
June 4, 2003 - Having split their last two World League matches with Italy last weekend the Brazilian team has finished it's final training session in Bologna and will arrive in Portugal on Wednesday without their captain Nalbert. More   Portuguese
Story courtesy of the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation
Pic: The two captains Nalbert from Brazil (left) and Italy's Giani embrace after Italy won the second of two matches last weekend.

Brazil men's and women's teams destined for Europe
May 28, 2003 - The national men's and women's teams of Brazil finished their final training sessions in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday and have departed for Europe. More     Spanish

Brazil ready for opening World League matches 
May 19, 2003 - After six weeks of intense work in Rio de Janeiro the Brazilian national men's team has arrived in Sao Paulo, the host venue for their opening World League matches against Germany this weekend, well prepared and eager to open their World League campaign in the best possible way according to the official Brazilian Volleyball Confederation website. More
Pic: Brazil celebrate their 2002 World Championship title

Brazil back in camp
May 12, 2003 - Most of Brazil's 2002 World Championship side gathered for the first time last weekend in preparation for the 2003 World League. With only a couple of stars part of the team that returned last week from 2-1 and 3-0 series wins over the Netherlands and Spain respectively coach Bernardinho was able to welcome back a couple of other members of the 2002 World Championship winning squad, who returned to Brazil from their European club sides. More
Brazil celebrating their 3-2 win over Russia at the 2002 World Championship

Brazil finish friendly series against S
pain unbeaten
May 07, 2003 - The Brazilian men's team finished their two-country European tour with a 3-1(25-16, 25-16, 19-25, 25-15) victory over Spain in Madrid on Tuesday wrapping up the two-match friendly series 2-0. The undefeated tour of Spain follows a 2-1 series win over the Netherlands last week, signaling that Brazil, who rested some of their big stars, will be one of the teams to beat ahead of the World League, which starts on May 23. Match stats  Game one report  Game one stats


Russia the ones to beat - Giovane
May 05, 2003 - Brazil will stll be the underdogs going into the 2003 World League, despite having beaten Russia in the 2002 World Championship last October, says one of the World Champion's oldest and most experienced players Giovane Gavio, according to a report on the official Brazilian Volleyball Confederation website. More

Brazil wins final match against the Netherlands
May 04, 2003 - The Brazilian men's volleyball team wrapped up their friendly series with the Netherlands with a 3-2 victory in the third and final match in front 3,500 spectators in Eindhoven on Saturday. The World Champions took the first two sets 25-23, 25-18 before coach Bernardo "Bernardinho" Rezende substituted some of his players, allowing the home side to come back and win the next two sets 25-21, 29-27 and force a fifth set tiebreaker, which Brazil won 18-16. More 
Second match report
 First match report

Pic: Brazil and the Netherlands also clashed in the 2002 World Championship where Brazil won 3-0.

Crunch time for the "Boys from Brazil"
April 7, 2003 - Brazilian national team coach Bernardo Rezende has labeled the next 12 months a year of survival as his team prepares to launch an assault on the World League, the World Cup and the Olympics. Brazil are coming off the back of their first ever World Championship title in Argentina at the end of last season and "Bernardinho" is hoping his team takes that form into this year's World League tournament, which starts on May 23. more Click here for Spanish

ITALY

New Italian coach pleased with spirit

May 23, 2003 - The new national coach of the Italian men's team Gian Paolo Montali is happy with his side's spirit ahead of their opening World League Pool C match against Portugal on Friday night in Perugia, Italy. More    Spanish version
Story courtesy of the Portuguese Volleyball Federation

New National Coach for Italy 
Gian Paolo Montali, presently with the club of Milano has been chosen as the new coach of the Italian National Team. He replaces Andrea Anastasi, who finished the 2002 season with Italy's fourth place in the World League (their worst ever result), and a fifth place at the World Championship in Argentina. Montali has already selected a squad of 22 players from which he will choose those who will participate in the World League, the first tournament for the new National Team. Montali has covered his bases, naming some new faces, while retaining some old and familiar ones, thus while launching a new era for the Italian side, he still can call on the talent and experience of his big stars. "The Italian Team is now ranked fifth on the World Ranking," Montali said. "This means that we have to work a lot, be patient and determined and do our best to demonstrate what we will be able to reach." "I don't have a lot to say, we just have to work and to take care of three important things: attitude, attitude, attitude!" the new national coach said, underlining that he expected his players to dedicate themselves to every competition, match, set and even rally. more 
(Story by Giada Imperato, Milan, Photo credit to www.volleymilano.it


PORTUGAL

Big task for Portugal to avoid fourth place finish  
June 24, 2003 - Portugal's battle with Germany to avoid last place "the wooden spoon" in Pool B takes on a distinctive Brazilian flavor this weekend in Week 7, the final round, of the World League Intercontinental Rounds. Both Portugal and Germany are tied with 12 points but Germany currently sits in third spot on Set Ratio difference having won five more sets in pool play than Portugal. So the almost impossible task of Portugal beating Brazil in South America will be the only way the world number 14 will be able to move off the bottom of the group. More
Pic: Portugal star Joao Jose contemplates the big task of beating Brazil away from home.

Silva lining to latest Portuguese side
June 18, 2003 - Portugal's most experienced player Manuel Silva returns to Portugal's lineup after head coach Juan Diaz named his 12-man squad for Portugal's World League Pool B matches against Germany this weekend in Leipzig. Twenty-nine-year-old Silva, with more than 130 caps, missed last weekend's two defeats at the hands of Italy but returns this weekend in the place of Roberto Reis as both Portugal and Germany search for only their second win of the Intercontinental Rounds after they split their first meeting in Matosinhos, Portugal at the beginning of the month. More
Pic: Silva returns after missing last weekend's two defeats at the hands of Italy

Portugal prepare to host eight-time World League winners Italy
June 12, 2003 - Juan Diaz, head coach of Portugal, unveiled his 12-man lineup to take on World League super powers Italy, eight-time winners of the competition, on Thursday in what will be two testing match-ups on Saturday 17:00 GMT and Sunday 14:00 GMT in Matosinhos. After an early morning training session most of Portugal's squad were given a rest on Thursday afternoon as they search for only their second victory of the Intercontinental Rounds this weekend. Italy is in second place, with five wins, behind Brazil only on Set Ratio difference. More
Pic: Italy beat Portugal twice in Week 2 by 3-0 in both games

Malveiro looks ahead to Germany clash
May 30, 2003 - Twenty-three-year-old Joao Malveiro is one of 12 Portuguese players elected to take part in the 2003 World League representing the national team, his fourth international competition. More  Spanish  Portuguese

Portugal hopeful of promising World League start

May 22, 2003 - The Portuguese men's team left Wednesday enroute to Italy where they will contest the first games of Pool B of the Intercontinental phase of the 2003 World League in Perugia on Friday night and Benevento on Sunday. More    Spanish version
Story courtesy of the Portuguese Volleyball Federation

Portugal and Cuba finish World League preparations
May 21, 2003 - In a tough game lasting nearly two hours, the Portuguese national men's team beat Cuba 3-0 in their final warm-up game in Porto on Tuesday night as both teams finished their preparations for their opening World League matches this weekend. More
Story by Barbedo Magalhães
Pic: Portugal coach Juan Diaz with his team during the 2002 World League


Portugal eye key clash with Slovakia
May 9, 2003 - Portugal head into this weekend's final round of European Championship qualifying anxious for a win in their first match against Slovakia tonight in Istanbul, Turkey according to a report on the official site of the Portuguese Volleyball Federation. The Portuguese, ranked 14th in the world, are in the precarious position of having won two of their first three matches in Pool 4 and to guarantee qualification for the European Championship, which will be held in Germany in September, they must win two of their three remaining matches this weekend. More      Pool 4 table
www.cev.lu for European Championship news and results
Pic: Portugal coach Juan Diaz says his team must win tonight's match against Slovakia


World League a step towards Olympic Qualification for talented Portugal 

Portugal are making their fourth World League appearance at the 14th edition and this promising young team faces a tough challenge in the Intercontinental Round against reigning Word Champion Brazil, eight times World League winner Italy and Germany, the host country for the 2002 European Championship finals. The challenge represents concentrated work for national coach, Cuban national Juan Diaz who was nominated by the FIVB as one of the ten best coaches of the 20th century. Diaz however has already worked intensively with this young team and his clear leadership has already reaped results with Portugal finishing a creditable eighth at the 2002 World Championship in Argentina. "We are in a strong group, but we can only improve if we play high level and with the best teams," Diaz said philosophically. Hi goal for this year is "to improve on last year's performance and to try to win one game against Brazil or Italy", especially at home, where Portugal will play it's matches in the magnificent hall of Matosinhos, in the charming city of Porto.  more  Reporting by Barbedo Magalhães, Portugal. Pic: Portugal scores against Brazil at the 2002 World League.


GERMANY

Germany face last opponent of the season
June 25, 2003 - The German team travels south on Wednesday to face their last opponent, three-time world champion Italy, in the 14th edition of the World League in the cities of Trieste and Verona on Friday and Sunday. Both teams are out to defend their position on the Pool B table. Italy wants to retain the top spot to put them in the box seat for the finals in Madrid, while Germany wants to hang on to third place ahead of Portugal and pick up another five world ranking points. More  German
Story by Thilo von Hagen from the German Volleyball Federation
Pic: Luigi Mastangelo on attack. Italy beat Germany 3-1 and 3-2 in Week 4

German coach says Portugal match a "must win" affair
June 19, 2003 - Although both teams sit at the bottom of Pool B, Germany's last home matches in the World League against Portugal this weekend in Week 6 of the World League Intercontinental Rounds still have a lot riding on them according to German coach Stelian Moculescu. More
Story by Thilo von Hagen from the German Volleyball Federation
Pic: Germany and Portugal split their matches earlier this month in Portugal

Leifke puts heart problem behind him

June 11, 2003 - Marco Leifke, the 207cm German giant, has come along way in the past six months. Since having a heart operation he is now apart of a national German line up that is preparing to take on World Champions Brazil in Berlin this weekend in Week 5 of the World League Intercontinental Rounds. More Spanish  German
Pic: Leifke is hoping Germany will start winning rather than talking about it

Both captains missing in Germany-Brazil World League clash
June 11, 2003 - Germany and the World Champions Brazil meet this weekend in Berlin in Week 5 of the World League Intercontinental Rounds both playing without their captains. While Brazil's Nalbert has been instructed by coach Bernadino to rest up at home, the break for German skipper Stefan Hübner is of another nature. More     German
Story by Thilo von Hagen, Germany Volleyball Federation
Pic: Brazil beat Germany 3-0 and 3-1 when both teams played in Brazil in Week 2


Moculescu hoping to claim Italian scalp
June 6, 2003 - Despite Germany being ranked 16 places behind World League super powers Italy, German coach Stelian Moculescu is still aiming for victory when the two sides meet on Saturday and Sunday in Munich in Week 4 of the World League Intercontinental Rounds. Germany are ranked 22nd in the world but are riding on a wave of Volleyball support in their country and recent performances have started to impress. This weekend's matches, the first time Germany are at home in the World League, against the three-time World Champions will be a true litmus test for a side, which has won one match from their first four in Pool B having played Brazil and Portugal away from home. More
Pic: German coach Stelian Moculescu hopes his team plays like the Rolling Stones this weekend

Brazil taught us a lesson - Moculescu

May 26, 2003 - Germany was handed a lesson by world champions Brazil on the weekend when they opened their World League campaign in Sao Paolo with successive defeats 3-0, 3-1 in front of around 20,000 enthusiastic Brazilian fans. "We really showed this weekend where we are at present and we have our feet back on the ground," German coach Stelian Moculescu said. "There were those who thought that we were further advanced but when we don't learn to defend ourselves we are going to have big problems at the European Championships. More      German      Spanish
Story by Thilo von Hagen, Germany Volleyball Federation
Pic: Mark Siebeck celebrates a point for Germany


German coach admits World League Pool is tough
May 23, 2003 - In preparation for meeting Brazil in their opening 2003 World League matches on Saturday and Sunday German coach Stelian Moculescu answered some questions on Friday. More  German


Hübner out of Germany's opening World League matches

May 22, 2003 - The German national team left for Sao Paulo on Wednesday night for their opening World League Group C matches against Brazil this weekend missing their inspirational captain Stefan Hübner. One of the most experience players in the German lineup, Hübner has torn a tendon in his knee and has been replaced by Eugen Bakumouski in a line up which has been named to cover Germany's two opening weekends against Brazil and Portugal. However Hübner hopes to return to national duties on Wednesday June 4 in time for when Germany host Italy in Munich on June 7. More  German  Spanish
Pic: German captain Stefan Hübner in action during the 2002 World League
Story by Thilo von Hagen, Germany Volleyball Federation.

Germany start World League preparations
May 02, 2003 - With the domestic season having finished and the launch of the World League only three weeks away, the German national men's volleyball team went into their first training camp of the season today in Friedrichshafen. Coach Stelian Moculescu has gathered most of his World League squad to begin a rigorous 10-day camp, including three days of fitness tests, to get them up to speed before heading to Russia on May 15 to join the world number one ranked team in combined training sessions. More 
Story by Thilo von Hagen, Germany Volleyball Fed.
German Version
The German team has two training camps with Russia and the Netherlands.

A solid season ahead for Germany's national team:
 
Highpoints are World League and European Championship
Germany's national trainer Stelian Moculescu has a solid year planned for his team with the World League and the European Championship at home his declared highpoints. more  Story by Thilo von Hagen, Germany Volleyball Federation.


Germany's coach chooses 2003 World League squad
Germany's national coach Stelian Moculescu has named his 18-man squad for the 2003 World League season, refreshing his side with some new talent and with one eye on the coming European Championship (September 5-14), also hosted by Germany, according to a report from the German Volleyball Federation headquarters in Frankfurt. From his original 22-man squad, Moculescu has removed middle blocker BogdanJalowietzki (VfB Friedrichshafen), saying Jalowietzki was older and needed a break, bearing in mind the coming European Championship. He has also eliminated outside hitters Patrick Schwaack (TSV Unterhaching) and Robert Kromm (VC Olympia Berlin), as well as libero Vincent Lange (SCC Berlin). "I have eliminated Schwaack, Kromm und Lange because other players in the 18-man cadre are simply better," Moculescu said of his decision. more 
Pic: Germany's Marco Liefke goes for the big hit against Cuba in the 2002 Edition of the World League

News for POOL C - UPDATE May 6, Bulgaria replaces China

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO

Victory imperative for Serbia and Montenegro
June 25, 2003 - After two defeats at the hands of Bulgaria last weekend in Varna, Serbia and Montenegro are in a must-win mode ahead of their two matches at home against the Netherlands in Pool C in this, the final weekend of the Intercontinental Rounds, to ensure their place in the World League Finals in Spain next month. The European and Olympic champions wanted at least one victory against Bulgaria last weekend but were left without any points and with new problems as they went down 3-1 and 3-2. More
Story by Novica Saric
Pic: Milan Vasic tries to beat the Bulgarian defence last weekend

Serbia and Montenegro out to confirm World League Finals spot 
June 11, 2003 - Following two defeats during the first two weekends of the World League Intercontinental Rounds the alarm bells were ringing within the Serbia and Montenegro camp as qualification for the World League Finals in Spain in July looked shaky. But two victories (3-2 and 3-1) over Cuba last weekend in Havana did a lot to stem the concern surrounding the performances of the Olympic and European Champions, as the "Blue" team moved into second place in Pool C, level on points but behind on Set Ratio with first-placed Bulgaria. More Story by Novica Saric
Pic: Serbia and Montenegro coach Veselin Vukovic during a timeout in Cuba last weekend

Serbia and Montenegro aim for improved performance
May 28, 2003 - After a win and a loss in the Netherlands last weekend, Serbia and Montenegro coach Veselin Vukovif says his team must eliminate their mistakes when they host Bulgaria in Pool C this weekend in Week 3 of the World League. More Story by Novica Saric of the Serbia and Montenegro Volleyball Federation

Serbia and Montenegro name side for World League opener
May 21, 2003 - Serbia and Montenegro have named their side for their opening two World League matches against the Netherlands starting on Saturday in Eindhoven. More


Yugoslavia - A force to be reckoned with 
When Yugoslavia made their appearance at the qualifications for the European Championships in 1995, no one expected that the team, emerging from years of sanctions that stopped them from competing at international level, would take home the bronze medal. Since then they have solidified their position as one of the world's best teams and their clear aim for their sixth appearance at the World League is to take the title. The depth of the side is best remembered by recalling that their determination, legendary fighting spirit and skill gave them the biggest prize of all - the gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, a feat they repeated one year later when they took the European title in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Yugoslavia took the bronze medal at last year's World League, their best performance in five appearances, and finished fourth at the World Championship when France denied them a podium place. more Story by Novica Saric of the Serbia and Montenegro Volleyball Federation.
Pic: Yugoslavia Vs Italy at the 2002 World League.


THE NETHERLANDS

Netherlands aiming for two wins despite Schuil absence 
June 20, 2003 - Despite the absence of star spiker Richard Schuil, the Netherlands' head coach Bert Goedkoop has shown confidence in his side and said his team will still be gunning for two victories over Cuba this weekend on Friday and Saturday night (local time) in Havana's Ciudad Deportiva. Schuil, the third best scorer so far in the World League, was injured during a training session prior to the Netherlands' duel with Bulgaria last weekend, when his team lost the first game 0-3, but won the second 3-2. More  Spanish    Story by Lissette Ricardo Torres
Pic: Richard Schuil in action earlier in the World League Intercontinental Rounds

Goedkoop eyes World League Final Round this weekend
June 6, 2003 - The coach of the Netherlands national men's team Bert Goedkoop has singled out this weekend's matches against Bulgaria in Week 4 of the World League starting on Friday night as crucial to his team's chances of making the World League Finals in Spain next month. More
Pic: Netherlands coach Bert Goedkoop has led his team to three wins from four games so far in the World League Intercontinental Rounds

Goedkoop hopes for clean sheet against Cuba
May 28, 2003 - Netherlands' coach Bert Goedkoop is hoping to take advantage of his side's performance against Serbia and Montenegro last weekend, where they beat the Olympic and European champions in one of the two matches, and win both matches when the Netherland's host Cuba this weekend in World League week three action. More

Nummerdor named in Netherlands lineup
May 23, 2003 - The Netherlands captain Reinder Nummerdor has postponed having his troublesome right shoulder examined and has been named in his national team's lineup for their opening matches against Serbia and Montenegro in World League Group C this weekend. More
Story by Rinske Stege

Netherlands captain to have injured shoulder examined

May 12, 2003 - The Netherlands captain Reinder Nummerdor will have his troublesome right shoulder examined next week in order to come to a decision on whether to undergo surgery. The star player in the Netherlands' lineup has just finished helping his side qualify for the European Champion on the weekend but after suffering with a niggling shoulder injury for a number of years, the 26-year-old is ready to take some action. More
Story by Arjen Meijer, CEV Confederation Press Officer
Pic: Nummerdor will see the doctors next Monday


Belgium beat Netherlands for a second time

May 08, 2003 - Belgium, ranked 50th in the world, defeated the Netherlands 3-1 in Vilvoorde on Wednesday night to inflict a second loss in two games on the 7th ranked team in the world, who has now lost four of their last five matches. More   First Game report
Story by Arjen Meijer, CEV Confederation Press Officer

The Netherlands lose final match to Brazil
May 04, 2003 - The Brazilian men's volleyball team wrapped up their friendly series with the Netherlands with a 3-2 victory in the third and final match in front 3,500 spectators in Eindhoven on Saturday. The World Champions took the first two sets 25-23, 25-18 before coach Bernardo "Bernardinho" Rezende substituted some of his players, allowing the home side to come back and win the next two sets 25-21, 29-27 and force a fifth set tiebreaker, which Brazil won 18-16. More 
Second match report
 First match report

Pic: Brazil and the Netherlands also clashed in the 2002 World Championship where Brazil won 3-0.

Marko Klok back in Dutch National Team
National coach Bert Goodkoop has called veteran Marko Klok back into the Dutch national squad to contest the 2003 World League to resolve his problems with the ever-important libero role. The now 35-year-old Klok exited the side in early 2000 after a dispute with the then coach Toon Gerbrands.
Klok was the first Dutch player to fill the libero role in the national side after the rule was introduced in the late 1990's. Since then, the libero position has become increasingly important in the configuration of the world's top teams. Klok comes in to replace Jochem de Gruyter who went to the 2002 World Championship in Argentina as part of the Dutch team. De Gruyter has retired as national team player and will try his luck in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in 2003. A veteran of some 203 national appearances and a member of the Dutch silver medallist team from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Klok's return will add stability to the Dutch lineup. He played for a number of years in the Italian league but is now back home at Ortec/Nesselande in Rotterdam. more Story by Arjen Meijer, Amsterdam, Pic: Dutch Captain Reinder Nummerdor in action.

CUBA

Cuba and Portugal finish World League preparations
May 21, 2003 - In a tough game lasting nearly two hours, the Portuguese national men's team beat Cuba 3-0 in their final warm-up game in Porto on Tuesday night as both teams finished their preparations for their opening World League matches this weekend. More
Story by Barbedo Magalhães

Young Cuban squad looking to improve on last World League
The Cuban National Team will enter the fourteenth edition of the World League for the second straight year with a very young squad and modest hopes for the coming tournament. Although some of the players already have a season to their credit and the team is hopeful of a better performance than last year, the Caribbean unit may still not be good enough to rejoin the elite positions they held in the late 1990's. Nevertheless, the team, under the tutorage of Eliseo Ramos since last year, will go to this year's event with something in their favor - one more year of full preparation and the experience of the World Championship in Argentina last October. They have more mature players now, but know the task of qualifying in any pool won't be easy, bearing in mind the evident progress of the established teams and improvement of others already nudging the world elite. "We know the strength of the other teams in our pool (Yugoslavia, Netherlands and China) and we don't forget that Yugoslavia is the Olympic champion and Netherlands have a traditionally front line squad," said Ramos, 51. more Story by Lissette Ricardo Torres, Havana, Cuba and Roosevelt Comarazamy, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic .Pic Lofty and youthful Yosleider Cala (2.02cm and 18 years) poised for action. Click here for Spanish

BULGARIA

No illusions for Bulgaria
May 28, 2003 - Bulgaria travel to Serbia and Montenegro for their second round of World League matches this weekend in what Bulgarian coach Milorad Kijac calls a tough ask. More

CHINA

China on track for Olympic gold says women's coach
April 22, 2003. The head coach of the Chinese women's team Chen Zhonghe says his team will win the next two Olympic titles, as long as he stays in charge, according to a report published recently by the  People's Daily Online. More 
Pic: Chen Zhonghe has his team on track for the Olympics.

China Chooses World League Squad
China Volleyball Association has gone with a core group of 10 players who took part in the 2002 World Championship, but have propped up the young side by adding two very experienced veterans for the 2003 World League. The squad are also being groomed for the other two majors this season, the World Cup (November, Japan) and the Asian Men's Senior Championship. Head Coach Di Anhe has stuck to his policy of grooming young players. The 18-man squad includes core players wing spiker Shen Qiong and opposite Tang Miao. Eleven of his players are under 23 with wing spikers Hu Song, Wang Zhiteng and Fang Yingchao being just 20. But it is expected that Di will largely stick to his regulars in the World League, combining experience with youth to try to find the magic mix. Di Anhe has modest aims for this year's World League, saying his side is not yet strong and mature enough to achieve excellent results.  more  Story by Wang Yonsun, the Asian Confederation Press Officer. Pic: Lu Fei from China Vs Matej Cernic from Italy at the 2002 World League.


China Forms a 15-Strong Men's National Volleyball Team
Perhaps also with one eye on the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the Chinese Volleyball Association (CVA) has announced that their newly formed men's national team will go all out for a berth in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, as well as a good result at the Asian Championships.  more (From Wang Yongsun, Confederation Press Officer, Asia).

News for POOL D        UPDATE May 6, 2003 Czech Republic replaces Argentina

FRANCE

Blain names lineup for French trip to Japan
June 16, 2003 - French coach Philippe Blain has omitted key players Frantz Granvorka and Luc Marquet in his latest 12-man team for his side's all-important trip to Japan for Week 6 of the Intercontinental Rounds this weekend. France, who sit in third spot in Pool D, must win at least one of the two matches in Fukuoka to keep alive any chance of making the World League Final Round next month. Two losses will hand Greece second place in the Pool behind the Czech Republic and a possible qualifying spot for the Finals while bringing to an end an exciting roller coaster ride for France through the Intercontinental Rounds. More   Spanish

Blain names top World League lineup for Greece 
June 12, 2003 - French coach Philippe Blain has recognized the significance of this weekend's two World League Intercontinental Round matches against Greece this weekend by naming a full strength 12-man lineup for the two games in Paris and Dijon. With France currently sitting in third place in Pool D with only two weekends remaining - Pool D started a week ahead of the three other Pools - victory in both crucial fixtures this weekend will keep the World Championship bronze medallists in contention of qualifying for the World League Finals in Spain, which goes to the two top teams in each Pool. More    Spanish
Pic: France thanks the fans after beating Greece in Match 1 last weekend

Antiga on comeback as Blain rings the changes for France
May 28, 2003 - Head coach Philippe Blain has named three surprises in his team of 12, including the recall of star player Stéphane Antiga for France's next two Pool D World League assignments, this weekend away to the Czech Republic followed by a trip to Greece. More      Spanish

No changes for France
May 23, 2003 - French coach Philippe Blain has retained the same 12 players, which featured in France's opening two wins over the Czech Republic last weekend, for this weekend's World League Group D matches against Japan in Nantes on Friday and Saturday. More


France set for opening World League match
 
May 16, 2003 - Libero for the French national men's team Hubert Henno says his team will be relaxed and ready for tonight's opening match of the 2003 World League match when France take on the Czech Republic in Grenoble according to a report on Sport24.com. The 26-year-old says after the strain and pain of qualifying for the European Championship last weekend the Tricolors will be a lot more composed outfit tonight, despite the wear and tear of a hectic season. More
Hubert Henno in action during France's bronze medal performance at the 2002 World Championship

France name lineup for opening World League match
May 15, 2003 - French coach Philippe Blain has named his team of 12 players for the opening match of the 2003 World League against the Czech Republic on Friday night with three key players - Stéphane Antiga, Luc Marquet and Olivier Kieffer - all missing due to injury. Kieffer missed France's qualification matches for the European Championship matches last weekend while Marquet and Antiga both played. However all have been labeled as possible starters for the second week of matches against Japan on May 23. More
Pic: France had tremendous success last year with a bronze medal at the 2002 World Championship.

Antiga anguish over European qualifying
May 07, 2003 - With the French men's team heading to a vital qualifier for the European Championships, Stéphane Antiga, has singled out this weekend's three remaining qualification matches as crucial to France's chances of qualifying for the Olympics according to a report in l'Equipe. More

France - A genuine force to be reckoned with

April 03, 2003. France's build up to the 2003 World League will step up a gear this month when coach Philippe Blain puts his talented team through an intensive training programme. more 

CZECH REPUBLIC

Czech Republic take unchanged lineup in to key matches 
June 21, 2003 - The Czech Republic have made no changes to their successful squad, which has won seven games in a row, for this weekend's key matches in Pool D against Greece in Ostrava. This weekend signals the final games for Pool D after their one-week earlier start compared to the other three pools and with the Czech Republic in first place with 17 points, Greece in second with 16 points and France in third on 15 points, one win against Greece this weekend will confirm that the Chzech Republic finish the Intercontinental Round in top spot and gain automatic qualification to the World League Finals in Spain next month. More
Pic: The Czech Republic won both their games in Japan last weekend

Czech Republic expecting to seal Finals spot 
June 20, 2003 - World League debutants the Czech Republic has surprised everyone to be one step away from qualifying for the World League Finals with only one weekend remaining in Pool D - Pool D started one week ahead of the three other Pools - but their President is expecting more of the same. The Czech Republic currently holds the automatic qualifying spot in Pool D for the World League Finals, to be held in Madrid next month, in first place with 17 points with Greece, their opponents this weekend, and France on 16 and 15 points respectively. More
Pic: The Czech Republic captain Ivo Dubs leads from the front 

Czech Republic after World League improvement
May 20, 2003 - Pavel Rerabek, the coach of the Czech Republic men's team, says he expects his side to be more competitive against France in their return matches after losing both opening World League Group D games (3-1, 3-0) to the World Championship bronze medalists last weekend. More
Pic: Pavel Rerabek (right) gives out instructions to his team

GREECE

Greece aiming for World League repeat in opening matches
May 16, 2003 - Greece go into their opening World League matches against Japan this weekend in Xanthi hoping for a repeat of last year's two opening round victories against the same opposition. In 2002 Greece got their World League campaign off to a cracking start with 3-0 and 3-1 victories in their first two matches, both at home and both over Japan and it's exactly those results Greece captain Marios Gkiourdas is hoping for again in Friday's and Saturday's matches. More
Pic: Gkiourdas blocks a Japanese spike in Greece's opening World League win last year

Greece stocks up on new talent ahead of the Olympics 
The Hellenic National Men's Volleyball team will go to the 2003 World League with the same 12 key players who represented their country at the 2002 World Championship in Argentina, but the 18-man lineup already announced has been refreshed with a brace of young talents players from the junior national team. These include Nick Smaragdis (middle-blocker), George Stefanou (libero), Theoklitos Karipidis (wing-spiker), Stathis Ntonas (opposite) and Kostas Prousalis (setter), as well as possibly Andrej Kravarik. With one eye firmly on the 2004 Olympics at home in Athens, national coach Stelios Prosalikas considers that this year is 'transition' and understandably he wants to rest some of his stars from too much competition so that they are in peak condition for their home Olympics next year. The Greek team is making its seventh appearance in the World League and aim at making good impression, something that should be easy for them as they were already impressing observers at top 2002 competitions. more

Story by George Stefanis, Athens, Pic: Vasileous Kournetas going up for Greece in World League action.jpg 

JAPAN

Japan prepare to host Greece
May 27, 2003 - The head coach of the Japanese men's national team, Mikiyasu Tanaka stressed at a press conference on Tuesday that his team has a lot of room for improvement when they play against Greece in Week 3 of the World League this weekend in Fukushima, Japan. More
Japan celebrate their 3-1 win over France last weekend

Manabe receives World League recall
April 22, 2003 - Veteran setter Masayoshi Manabe has been recalled in to the Japanese men's World League team after 26-year-old Makoto Yamaguchi was ruled out over the weekend following the news he requires surgery on his injured shoulder. More

Japan ready to cause an upset 
April 15, 2003. Takahiro Yamamoto, the ace spiker of the Japanese men's team, says his side can upset the form book for this year's World League competition and qualify for the final round. Very big words considering Japan, ranked 12th in the world, must qualify second in their group amongst France, Argentina and Greece who are ranked 5th, 6th and tenth in the world respectively. More

Yoishi Kato’s Postcard from Italy
April 4, 2002 - Japan’s 26-year-old wing-spiker Yoishi Kato is spending his first season with the Italian League and is under contract with Sisley Treviso. Kato talks to FIVB’s correspondent Giada Imperato about his impressions of playing abroad and his new life in Italy.
GI: What do you think of the Italian Championship?
Kato: In Italy Volleyball is considered a professional sport and players are asked to play volleyball as their work, while in Japan players have other jobs and volleyball is not at this level, it’s an amateur sport. As for the players “duties”, like playing a precise position like setter, middle-blocker etc., in Japan I was asked to be universal, while in Italy everyone has a precise role and for me it’s easier to focus on my precise duties. Finally, in the Italian Championship, the power of the serve and of the spike are very important. The game is much more “physical” and the ball is always very fast. My impression is that the Italian Championship is the best one all over the world.
GI: How is your relationship with the people in the Sisley Treviso Team?
Kato: Everybody is very kind to me and this is very important for me, because it’s the right way to inspire me during training and in my technical improvement. Everyone, the other players and the staff and everyone outside the hall are really very kind and friendly.
GI:
How is your relationship from the technical point of view?
Kato: I’m in a team with a lot of champions and this is very important because the training sessions and the matches are always at a high level. The public is very competent and passionate and this creates a wonderful atmosphere. The Treviso sports facilities (see editor’s note below) is really great, one of the best in the world, and this is ideal for professional sportsmen.
GI: Are you satisfied with your Italian experience?
Kato: I’m very satisfied to have the chance to train everyday with players of this high level. I hope to improve so much that I will be able to give much more of my support during the Championship Matches. This first year with SisleyTreviso is a very important professional experience and it has been better that the preceding years in Japan.

Yoicho Kato in Brief:

Wing-spiker Yoicho Kato, 196cm tall and 26 years old, made his club debut in 1991 with the Japanese club Uenogaoka Jnr. High School. He appeared for the first time in an international match in a series of friendlies with the Czech Republic in 1997. He then went on to represent his country at the 1998 World Championship, the 1999 World Cup, the 2001 World Grand Champions Cup and has played for Japan in the 2001 and 2002 World League editions. Kato is a self confessed follower of Japanese pop music and food, likes Sydney Sheldon books and also likes to play tennis.
Editor’s Note: When Kato praises the Treviso Sports facilities, he speaks of the state of the art "La Ghirada" , which includes a training hall, the Palasport auditorium and even some lodgings for young players.


Japan's coach focuses on big gun servers ahead of World League

The head coach of the Japan men's national team, Mikiyasu Tanaka, has selected a group of strong-serving players to prepare for the 2003 World League, confident that this will equip the team for a good performance in the Intercontinental Round. Tanaka, himself a legendary former player for the national side, has therefore called up big guns like Takahiro Yamamoto, who is also the best spiker of the team, blockers Nobuhiro Ito and Kota Yamamuro and setter Daisuke Usami who has also more than proved himself attacking from the serving position.
Japan, a former Volleyball powerhouse, did not perform well in the 2002 World League, scoring a solitary win and 11 defeats in the Intercontinental Round. They fortune changed however at the 2002 World Championship two months later in Argentina, when they bounced back to finish a creditable ninth. Yamamoto proved to be deadly in attack and his many spiking points helped propel the Japanese side through the tournament. 
" Yamamoto experienced big international matches last year and is still improving his attacking ability. If he is consistent and effective as in the second round of the world championship, Japan will definitely have a better result than last year," said Tanaka. more