Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 24, 2008 – Nothing is yet decided for the semi-finals after the second day of competition at Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro, the 12,000-seat stadium which is hosting the Final Round of the World League 2008. USA beat Poland after more than 2 hours in one of the best matches so far. Russia had a more easy job Thursday against Japan, closing their match with an easy 3-0 win. The matches of the pools will end tomorrow, with the ranking to designate the best four teams set.
After debuting in the FIVB World League 2008 Final Round with a defeat against host Brazil, Russia recovered their best play and claimed their first win in Rio. The team coached by Vladimir Alekno had not much trouble overcoming Japan 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-18). The Russians missed only Semen Poltavskiy, stuck in his hotel room with a muscular problem in his back. The Russians now have three points in Pool E, with two for Brazil and one for Japan, teams that will face each other in the last match of the pool on Friday at 10 a.m. local time. Russian wing-spiker Yury Berezhko led all scorers with 17 points. In the Japanese side, wing-spiker Kunihiro Shimizu, one of the players selected for the Olympic Games, scored 12 points. Making use of its tall players, Russia had good performances in serving and blocking.
However, Alekno was not fully satisfied: "The sports' logic says that the strongest team has more chances to win. That is what happened. When my players understand that they need to be patient to gain a victory, we will be ready to beat Brazil, too."
In the 100th match of FIVB World League 2008, the USA beat Poland 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 27-25, 18-25, 16-14) in the second match of Pool F of the Final Round. With its first win at Maracanazinho Gymnasium, the American team achieved its third point in the pool, while Serbia has two and Poland one. The Serbians and Polish will face each other on Friday at 13:15 local time. Best scorer of the match was wing-spiker Mariusz Wlazly from Poland with 31 points. Americans William Priddy and Clayton Stanley scored 21 points each. The fifth set reflected the balance of the whole match. No team let the other have a big lead until the USA had a 12-10 lead after an outstanding serve from Scott Touzinsky. Managing the advantage until the end, the American won the set and the match, 16-14, with a serve point from Priddy.
American captain Thomas Hoff said: "I am satisfied with my team-mates not because we improved our game, but because we played as a team. That was our weakness against Serbia."
Said Polish captain Piotr Gruszka: "It was good for us playing against such a strong team as the USA, apart from the final result. During the last months, we could not face a team of this level so it was a very good game for us."
Full match descriptions, statistics, free photo for media use can be found at fivb.org.
Friday, July 25
10:00 Brazil – Japan
13:15 Poland – Serbia
Saturday, July 26
10:00 Semi-final 1st F – 2nd E
13:15 Semi-final 1st E – 2nd F
Sunday, July 27
09:30 Bronze-medal match
12:30 Gold-medal match
World League Final Round broadcasted worldwide
Among the 11 TV channels broadcasting the first match of the day, Russia-Japan, especially in Asia the interest is higher than ever. FUJI TV NETWORK Japan and KBSN Korea, two major broadcasting networks, received the live signal via satellite. Outside the host country Brazil, the interest of the media is enormous in Latin America as well. Although their team did not qualify for the Final Round, Venzuelan TV viewers can follow the matches live on the national TVes, FIVB Host Broadcaster and TV rightsholder.
The European line-up of TV networks involved in the second match Poland-USA was impressive. Among the 12 broadcasters, RAI Italy as well as TVE Spain were two examples of major TV stations interested in Volleyball. The exclusive FIVB TV rightsholder POLSAT brought the action directly to up to 38 million Polish Volleyball fans.
In total, more than 30 different TV channels are telecasting the Final Round 2008.
TV GLOBO produces the Final Round in Rio de Janeiro with a total of 23 cameras. The equipment in use includes three super-slowmotion cameras and also a high-resolution-high-speed super slowmotion camera, a remote controlled camera crane, an innovative roof camera and two professional net cameras. Additionally, Globosat SPORTV operates a live studio inside the hall with a great view towards the court action. In the FIVB Mixed Zone numerous journalists and reporters work for the best images and interviews on-site, including TV teams coming a long way from Japan (FUJI TV NETWORK), Russia (TV SPORT) and Poland (POLSAT), which also operates with live TV commentators. There are a number of unilateral transmissions, news and special playouts as well as various live stand-ups organised daily for the best TV coverage of the final phase of FIVB World League. The FIVB offers for the first time multi-lateral English flash interviews right after each match within the international signal following requests by FIVB TV rightsholders for the World League.
"Follow me" by Andrea Zorzi
The FIVB website is enriched with a special blog written by former World Champion Andrea Zorzi. Video interviews and articles are displayed every day from Rio, showing to all Volleyball fans what is happening backstage at FIVB's premier annual Men's event. On line now is an interview with USA Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon.
Andrea Zorzi asked the USA Head Coach the hot question these days regarding the fact that apparently the biggest problem for the players as the Olympics approach appears to be the little time the teams have had for training rather than them playing close to the Beijing Games. Here is McCutcheon's answer: