World League 2005 News
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Serbia and Montenegro warm up well for finals

Lausanne, Switzerland, July 2, 2005 – The latest action in the 2005 World League on Saturday saw World League finals hosts Serbia and Montenegro warm up for their blue ribbon event with the second of two comprehensive victories over Greece while it will also be remembered for Japan’s first win in the competition since 2003.

Serbia and Montenegro looked in ominous form as they beat Greece 25-15, 25-22, 27-25 in their final match before heading into next week’s World League finals, which run from July 8-10 in Belgrade. The world number three beat Greece 3-0 (27-25, 25-22, 25-17) on Friday.

Pool C now has Poland (final round qualifiers) on top with an 8-3 record, followed by Serbia and Montenegro (7-4), Greece (5-7) and Argentina (3-8).
Pic: Greece's Zlatko Baev Tontor tries to beat the excellent defence of Aleksandar Mitrovic (5), Dragan Stankovic (7) and Ivan Miljkovic (14)
Meanwhile, in Pool A, there were huge celebrations in Tokyo as Japan fought from the dead to record their first win of the competition and their first win in 23 World League matches.

Japan, ranked 17th in the world, came back from two sets down to defeat world number 18 Portugal 3-2 (18-25, 20-25, 27-25, 26-24, 16-14) in a tense five-setter. The spirited victory ended a run of 10 straight defeats in Pool A this season, and restored pride in the home camp.

Portugal, who went into the match with a 6-4 win-loss record, looked to be on their way to a third straight World League victory over Japan this year. The Europeans won the first two sets, but Japan showed tremendous character to fight back and win the match on their second match point.

Brazil stretched their lead at the top of Pool A following a 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-21) demolition job over Venezuela. The defending champions are 10-1 followed by Portugal 6-5, Venezuela 5-6 and Japan 1-10.

The two key matches to decide the final round qualifier in Pool B are set to go on Sunday with Cuba playing France at 00:40 GMT - where Cuba can claim the final round ticket with a win - and Bulgaria hosting Italy at 17:30 GMT.

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