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Intercontinental Round nears halfway stage as Poland put unbeaten record on line against SCG

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 8, 2005 – Following four victories from as many matches during the first two rounds of the 2005 World League Intercontinental Round, world number seven Poland travels away from home for the first time with two riveting Pool C encounters this weekend against last year’s bronze medalists Serbia and Montenegro.

It promises to be a sumptuous clash between two of the most powerful sides in the competition in this the third week of six of the Intercontinental Round. Serbia and Montenegro coach Ljubomir Travica has vowed his side, who collected their first win of the tournament last weekend in Argentina and are preparing to play in front of their home fans for the first time, will try their utmost to break Poland’s record.

"For a young and inexperienced team one victory and one defeat in five sets in Buenos Aires was a great experience," Travica said. "I hope that we will play better in front of our own crowd in Novi Sad and Belgrade, and be victorious in the upcoming matches with Poland."

The other Pool C encounter sees second-placed Greece, who have two victories, visit Argentina, who collected their maiden victory last weekend.

Meanwhile, in Pool A defending champions Brazil head to Japan hoping to make amends for their shock defeat to Portugal in round two. Having suffered their first World League defeat in 25 games dating back to 2003, the world and Olympic champions road to recovery will be eagerly watched when they take on a Japanese side who haven’t won in 16 matches. The second match between these two sides on Sunday at 4 a.m. GMT (1 p.m. local time) at the Gifu Memorial Centre features as the FIVB’s “match of the week” for which a live satellite broadcast will be provided.

The other clash in the group sees joint pool leader Portugal host a young and exciting Venezuela side who have two victories to date.

In Pool B, leader Cuba, who have three wins and one defeat, head to France for what shapes up as another exciting fixture. Cuba are in red hot form at the moment having only suffered one loss to Italy, while France, who have two wins and two defeats, are unpredictable at the best of times but with lethal libero Hubert Henno returning to action last weekend against Bulgaria, the Tricolours will be tough to beat, especially on their home turf.

The group’s other match sees two of last year’s finalists feature with Bulgaria desperate to maintain their momentum against Italy after winning their first match last weekend.

First matches this week see Italy host Bulgaria in Roseto d. Abruzzi at 18.30 GMT followed by Argentina’s match against Greece at 00.00 GMT in Buenos Aires.

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