World League 2005 News
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Heat on Portugal and Greece to stay in contention

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 22, 2005 – A pair of victories to Brazil against Japan in Pool A and Poland, who visit Serbia and Montenegro in Pool C, this weekend will put both sides in the driver’s seat for claiming a Final Round berth after this weekend’s fifth round.

Both countries have a two point lead (two points for a win and one for a defeat) over their nearest rivals - Portugal in Pool A and Greece in Pool C - and any slip up by their closest opponents could spell an early finish for the race for the Final Round tickets, provided both Brazil and Poland do the double this weekend.
Pic: Portugal will try and keep their fans happy by beating Venezuela twice this weekend
In Pool A, Portugal, who have five wins and three defeats, need to win both their matches against Venezuela in Caracas to keep the pressure on defending champions Brazil (7-1). Victory for Venezuela (4-4) in either match will leave world number one Brazil with the highly probable task of claiming two victories over winless Japan (0-8) to seal their Final Round spot.

It is a similar scenario in Pool C where Greece (4-4) need a pair of victories when they host Argentina (2-6) this weekend. Just one defeat in Thessaloniki will open the door to Poland (6-2) to claim a Final Round berth this weekend when they play automatic Final Round qualifiers Serbia and Montenegro (4-4) at home in Katowice.

Meanwhile, in Pool B it is neck and neck at the top of the table between Cuba and Italy and their second clash in Havana has accordingly been named as FIVB’s television “match of the week”. Both sides are level on 13 points with five wins and three defeats so if one side manages to do the double this weekend they will take a handy lead going into the final Intercontinental Round next weekend for the race to win the pool and claim the one ticket on offer to the Final Round in Belgrade.

Although Cuba are ranked 16th in the world and on paper are expected to find it tough against the world number two, the central Americans have been in dazzling form in this competition with a youthful energetic side entertaining fans the world over. Italy, meanwhile, have been going through a tough rebuilding phase but are starting to show the consistency which netted them the Olympic silver medal and World League runner’s up spot last year.

If Cuba and Italy split their matches, Bulgaria (3-5) and France (3-5) both have a chance of keeping their Final Round hopes alive if they win both matches in their contest in Varna. Their first match has the honour of opening the action this weekend when they play at 15.00 GMT, followed shortly after by Poland’s match against Serbia and Montenegro in Katowice at 17.00 GMT.

TV networks interested in broadcasting the event are invited to contact Sports TV Media Distribution, the coordination agency based in Klagenfurt (tel. +43 463 90 8000 ; +43 676 848 606 220 ; +43 676 848 606 217 ; fax +43 463 90 8000 99 ; e-mail : worldleague@stvmd.com).
 
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