World League 2005 News
Brazil, Cuba and Portugal join Poland and Greece with two wins

Lausanne, Switzerland, May 29, 2005 – The opening weekend of the 2005 World League drew to a close on Sunday amongst scenes of great colour and support from fans around the world and after the first round, five teams - defending champions Brazil, Cuba, Portugal, Poland and Greece – all managed to collect two wins from as many matches.

With Poland (7*) and Greece (8=) having gone top of Pool C on Saturday after collecting their second victories over Argentina (8=) and Serbia & Montenegro (3) respectively, Sunday saw Portugal beat Japan 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-19) and Brazil beat Venezuela 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 25-10, 20-25, 15-13) to send both sides to the head of Pool A. Meanwhile, Cuba went to the top of Pool B alone after beating Bulgaria 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-23) after Italy had reversed a straight sets loss to France on Friday with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-13) win.
Pic: The atmosphere in Catania was electric as Italy beat France on Sunday
The 2003 and 2004 champions Brazil (1), who beat Venezuela 3-1 (25-19, 32-34, 25-22, 37-35) on Saturday, nearly had their record of successive World League victories broken by an impressive Venezuela (13=) outfit in Caracas but their experience and firepower took them to win number 23 dating back to 2003. However, the Olympic and world champions sit in second spot in Pool A on set ratio difference after Portugal (18) conceded only one set against a youthful Japanese (17) side, who look to have unveiled a new star in Marcos Sugiyama, having also beaten them 3-0 (25-22, 27-25, 25-22) in Guimaraes on Saturday.

In Pool B, a young and exciting Cuban side are on top with two victories over last year’s World League finalists Bulgaria(13=) including a 3-1 (26-24, 16-25, 25-20, 25-19) win on Friday. In a repeat of 2003, Bulgaria fell to Cuba (16) in their opening match after making too many mistakes including 21 at the service line and in front of 5,500 disbelieving eyes Romero Poey led Cuba to an impressive double in Varna. Last year’s silver medalists Italy (2) are second ahead of France (6) only on point ratio after both teams, boasting new lineups, shared straight set victories in Sicily including France’s (26-24, 25-17, 25-22) win on Friday where Gabriel Zobo scored an impressive 22 points.

The third and final group (Pool C) sees an injury plagued Greek side lead the pool on set ratio difference ahead of Poland after beating a young Serbia and Montenegro team 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 25-21) on Friday and 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-19) on Saturday in Athens. Poland, meanwhile, overcame injury problems of their own to defeat Argentina twice at home 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23) and 3-1 (19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-22).

With six rounds in total, the winner’s of each pool qualify for the four-team final round in Belgrade. In the case of Pool C, if Serbia and Montenegro, who automatic qualify for the final round as hosts, win the pool, the next best team advances.

* Denotes: World Ranking
  Menu WL
WL2005 Home
Competition Info
LIVE Scorebox
Matches reports
Best Players
Previous Editions