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Tough at the top of Pool B

Havana, Cuba, June 24, 2005 – Cuba and Italy will play two games on Friday and Saturday at Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva Hall in their attempt to keep the lead of Pool B of the 2005 World League Intercontinental Round.

Roberto García, the head coach of the home team, said that the first match is the key and his players are ready to do their best on court to win.

“Mathematically, this group is not decided, obviously, a 2-0 or a 1-1 split against Italy will put us in a better position to qualify for the final,” he added after confirming the list of 12 players.

He admitted that “we had some difficulties against Bulgaria last week, but we managed to beat them and won the second match, but we faced one of the best team in the world.”
Pic: In round two Cuba and Italy split both their matches
The Italian head coach, Gian Paolo Montalli, praised the evolution of the young Cuban players. “They have made great progress in just one year,” he said.

He highlighted World League top scorer and second best server Raydel Poey, as well as Osmany Juantorena and Odelvis Dominico, who have been key players in the Cuban performance so far.

“To play well is my only strategy to beat our rivals in these two matches,” Montali added, who regretted the absence of spikers Alessandro Fei and Cristian Savani due to injury.

“However, I am always excited to be able to be able to play in the usually crowded Ciudad Deportiva. Whatever the result might be, it is very exciting to play in front of 15.000 people.”

Italy and Cuba both have five wins and three losses so far in Pool B, but the home team have their nose in front courtesy of a better set average (19-13) compared to Italy’s 18-16.
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