World League 2005 News
The “Red Wine” team hoping for a better vintage

May 25, 2005 – Having missed out on last year’s competition, world number 13 Venezuela are hoping for big things in the 2005 World League and there’s no better way to start than against the world’s top ranked team Brazil in this weekend’s opening round.

Under the direction of new coach Eliseo Ramos, current Pan American champions Venezuela will find in Brazil an extremely tough opponent considering they are World, Olympic and World League champions and are favourites to retain their title.

However, overall the goal set by Venezuelan Volleyball authorities is to improve the national team’s performance of the past three editions of the World League (2001-2003), where the “red wine” team finished last each time.
Pic: Ernardo "Harry" Gomez was Venezuela's top scorer in 2003
With a record of seven wins and 29 defeats, the past three World League experiences have not been encouraging but with new coach Ramos on board and an exciting young squad in front of him, Venezuelan fans are quietly optimistic.

Undoubtedly, Venezuela has made lot of progress, illustrated by the recent victories achieved internationally, such as the gold medal in the 2004 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, beating Brazil and Cuba; as well as the 2003 World Cup in Japan, where they collected six victories, one of them over the hosts.

Fellow Pool C opposition Portugal has also been a victim of Venezuela, losing in the qualifying tournament for the 2004 Olympic Games in Porto last year.

With plenty of young yet talented players in his squad, such as the exciting Ernardo Gomez, Ronald Méndez, Luis Díaz, Fredy Cedeño, Iván Márquez and Rodman Valera among others, who have played in Argentina, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Japan, Ramos is banking on some marked improvement in this year’s competition.

The early signs are good with all the players having participated since April in a training program consisting of two daily sessions. Only one player, Thomás Ereú, who is due to have a knee operatation, is unavailable for the competition.

World league action in Venezuela starts with two Intercontinental Round matches against Brazil on Saturday (3pm local time) and Sunday (12:00 local time), in Pool A, which is completed by Japan and Portugal, in the Poliedro, a sport complex with a capacity of 12,500 people.
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