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FIVB World League 2006
 
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Bulgaria face Brazil in a repeat of the 2003 Pool F debut
 

Bulgaria's Plamen Konstantinov is one member of the 2006 squad that also faced Brazil in the 2003 edition

Moscow, 23 August 2006 - In the first match of the Final Rounds of the 2006 World League, defending champions will face the Intercontinental Round Pool D winners Bulgaria in a repeat of Pool F's opening match in 2003 in Madrid. Martin Stoev's 2006 squad contains 7 of the players that featured in that opening match, which Brazil won 3-1 on their way to their first of three consecutive World League titles under the leadership of head coach Bernardo Rezende.

Although Brazil qualified easily as Pool B leader and the only undefeated team during the Intercontinental Rounds, Rezende is quick to point out that “France, Italy and Russia had to play in a tough pool, as did Bulgaria and Cuba, as well as Serbia and Montenegro. These teams have been tested, but because we played in a relatively young and inexperienced group, we are not sure of our level.” Brazil has won the title a total of five times and has three back-to-back World League titles since 2003.

Despite facing what he referred to as "the strongest team in the world", Bulgaria's head coach Martin Stoev exuded confidence at the press briefing before the tournament, claiming that he had come "to play five matches in five days". After matching Cuba point-for-point in Pool D of the Intercontinental Rounds, Bulgaria finished the tournament with equal points (22) and win-loss record (10-2). In World League history, Bulgaria have reached the final four twice, in 1994 and 2004, finishing fourth in both cases.