World League 2005 News
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Cuba into finals after doing double over France

Havana, Cuba, July 2, 2005 – The fourth and final 2005 World League finalist was confirmed on Saturday night in Havana after Cuba completed a 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-21) victory over France to secure Pool B and their place in the four-team final round, joining hosts Serbia and Montenegro, Pool A winners Brazil and Pool C winner’s Poland.

Cuba’s sensational World League campaign was capped with their second victory over France after they beat the Tri colours 3-1 (30-32, 25-17, 25-23, 25-21) on Friday to finish on top of Pool B with eight wins and four losses, ahead of Italy, preventing the eight-time World League champions from reaching the finals for the first time in the history of the event.
Pic: Cuba celebrate their first World League finals appearance since 2001
Cuba improved from a bad start as France took the initiative to win the opening set, but the home team reacted and took control with successive set victories.

"We did our best and made some errors, but we managed to improve our performance and finally achieved the win we all wanted,” Cuba captain Pavel Pimienta said. “The World League is not over. We now have the final ahead of us and we will prepare for it".

For the first time since the glory days of the 90’s, Cuba have made the World League top four. Until recently, Cuba was one of the sport's undisputed powerhouses with an impressive history of success in the World League but following a number of national team defections in 2001, the Central Americans had been rebuilding.

Since 2000, Cuba has finished 8th, 5th, 13th, 13th and 7th last year after finishing no worst than fourth between 1991 and 1999.

In other action, Japan ended their World League campaign on a high with a second straight victory over Portugal in Pool A on Sunday, winning 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 31-29).

There are three more matches to play on Sunday, which will complete the Intercontinental Round action with Brazil playing Venezuela at 13:00, Bulgaria taking on Italy at 17:30 and Argentina hosting Poland at 21:00 (all times at GMT).
 
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