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Brazil claim Final Round spot while Pools B & C remain open

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 26, 2005 – Champions for the past two years Brazil will defend their crown in the Final Round in Belgrade after securing the Pool A ticket following two straight set victories over Japan Sao Paulo during Week Five of the Intercontinental Round, while their closest rivals Portugal split their matches with Venezuela.

Portugal needed to do the double in Caracas and after completing an excellent 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-22) win on Friday, they collapsed badly as Venezuela triumphed 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-19) on Sunday, eliminating Portugal from the race. With one round (two matches) still to play, Pool A sees Brazil on top (9-1), Portugal second (6-4), Venezuela third (5-5) and Japan still searching for their first win.
Pic: Support for Brazil at home was amazing
Meanwhile, the race for Final Round tickets in Pools B and C will go down to the wire.

In Pool B, Cuba and Italy are neck and neck after the 2004 silver medallists fought back from a 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-21) defeat on Friday with an impressive 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 29-27, 25-19) win in Havana in front of 16,000 fans. The eight-time World League champions now sit level with Cuba with six wins and four losses, although Cuba is ahead with a better set average. Bulgaria (4-6) and France (4-6) are also still contention after they split both their matches including an epic 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, 15-11) win to France on Sunday.

Cuba hosts France next weekend while Italy travels to Bulgaria.

Pool C continues to keep fans on the edge of their seats heading into the final weekend after Serbia & Montenegro silenced over 11,000 local fans when they pipped Poland on Saturday in a marathon five-set cliff hanger 3-2 (23-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-10) in Katowice. Poland had beaten Serbia & Montenegro on Friday 3-1 (20-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-20) moving them to a 7-3 record, however, second placed Greece couldn’t capitalize after they split their matches with Argentina including a 3-1 (15-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-20) defeat on Sunday. Greece are 5-5 and must beat Serbia and Montenegro twice next weekend and hope Poland trips up in Argentina for any chance of reaching the Final Round.
 
 
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