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FIVB World League Final Round: First-ever gold medal for USA; Brazil off podium after 10 years

FIVB First Executive Vice-President Mr. Jizhong Wei awards Team USA, the 2008 World League champion

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 27, 2008 – For the first time ever in FIVB World League history, USA climbed onto the highest step of the podium. The Americans are the sixth team in 19 years of World League to win the competition, after the Italian and Brazilian domination. Serbia claimed the silver medal after losing the final 3-1. Russia gained bronze, thanks to their 3-1 victory against Brazil. The host country of the Final Round didn’t manage a place on the podium, after seven gold medals, two silver and four bronze. The FIVB's flagship annual Men's competition closed this year assigning more than USD 20 million in Prize Money.


Awarded by the FIVB First Executive Vice-President, Mr. Jizhong Wei, and Mr. Carlos Nuzman, Brazilian NOC President, USA captain Thomas Hoff raised the World League cup on Sunday in the Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro. More joy came for the USA team with the MVP prize awarded to Lloy Ball (also best setter of the Final Round), while Lambourne was confirmed as best libero.


Showing a mixture of strength and ability, the Olympic champions of 1984 and 1988 overcame the team from Serbia in a very tough match 26-24, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22. Serbian opposite Ivan Miljkovic was the top scorer of the final match with 28 points. The wing-spiker William Priddy, from the USA, scored 21 points. The Americans often led the game: beside their well known block and defense system, which they invented in the '80s, they performed great in spiking, especially with Priddy and Clayton Stanley.


The Serbians played a fantastic tournament, displaying a team which mixed the experience of Miljkovic and Nikola Grbic with a new generation of players. They couldn’t find the path for the gold, even if in every set they got really close to USA.


American Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon said, “The World League was a really tough competition and an excellent test for us. Winning it for the first time is a fantastic achievement to the USA. Serbia brought many problems to us during the match.”


USA captain Thomas Hoff said, “I am quite proud of our team. We had overcome very strong players, with a great ball control. We played much better than we did against Serbia in the first match.”


The Head Coach of Serbia Igor Kolakovic said, “I am sad because we lost the final match, but, on the other hand, I am really happy because of our performance. Not many people thought we would be able to reach the Final Round and we did it. Unfortunately, we made many mistakes in the last match.”


“Yes, it’s true” stressed Serbian Captain Nikola Grbic. “The USA played better than us and deserved the title. I am happy because of our performance during the whole competition. I am proud of our efforts.”


Russia defeated Brazil 3-1 (25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 25-19) in the bronze-medal match. The team coached by Vladimir Alekno, with Maxim Mikhaylov in great shape, killed the chances of Brazil thanks to their wonderful “torcida” (11,000 spectators for the match).


Brazilian Head Coach Bernardo Rezende said, “I am really sad because I was not able to recover the team emotionally. Some players were under their levels and did not make it. Let’s work on these days to put them in a good shape again.”


Russian Captain Vadim Khamuttskikh confessed his happiness: “We felt the defeat against Serbia, but could recover on time to leave Brazil with a victory and a medal.”



Gold Final on TV in 100 countries

The FIVB World League 2008 was available in total to more than 31 TV rightsholders worldwide. The Gold Final match was distributed live via satellite to 25 TV channels for fantastic live and semi-live coverage. In Serbia, Volleyball fans followed the action live on the public national RTS station, as well as in the United States, where the ESPN-U network provided valuable coverage of the finals.



Best Players

MVP (most valuable player): Lloy Ball (USA)

Best Scorer: Ivan Miljkovic (Serbia)

Best Spiker: Dante (Brazil)

Best Blocker: Marko Podrascanin (Serbia)

Best Server: Giba (Brazil)

Best Setter: Lloy Ball (USA)

Best Libero: Richard Lambourne (USA)



World League 2008 Final standings

1. USA

2. Serbia

3. Russia

4. Brazil

5. Poland

6. Japan

7. Bulgaria, China, Italy

10. Cuba, Finland, France

13. Egypt, Korea, Spain, Venezuela



World League Honours

1990 Italy

1991 Italy

1992 Italy

1993 Brazil

1994 Italy

1995 Italy

1996 Netherlands

1997 Italy

1998 Cuba

1999 Italy

2000 Italy

2001 Brazil

2002 Russia

2003 Brazil

2004 Brazil

2005 Brazil

2006 Brazil

2007 Brazil

2008 USA



“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. The final interview is with Brazilian Head Coach Bernardo “Bernardinho” Rezende.



More press releases
26.07.2008 FIVB World League Final Round: Serbia and USA for the gold medal on Sunday  
25.07.2008 FIVB World League Final Round: Brazil, Serbia, Russia and USA make semi-finals  
24.07.2008 FIVB World League Final Round: An easy task for Russia against Japan, USA win long battle with Poland  
23.07.2008 A yellow wave of support for Serbia  
23.07.2008 FIVB World League Final Round: Brazil and Serbia earn straight wins on 1st day in Rio  
23.07.2008 More than 75 countries will watch first match of World League Finals on TV  
22.07.2008 Host country Brazil ready to face Russian block on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro at FIVB World League Final Round  
20.07.2008 Serbia, Poland join hosts Brazil, Russia, USA, wild-card Japan in FIVB World League Final Round after exciting end to Intercontinental Round action  
16.07.2008 FIVB World League 2008: France, Serbia, Poland, China chasing remaining two Final Round places  
15.07.2008 Japan is granted the wild card for the 2008 World League Final  
13.07.2008 FIVB World League 2008: Russia and USA reach Brazil as qualified teams for Final Round in Rio  
10.07.2008 FIVB World League 2008: France, Russia, USA, Poland in pole positions as other teams get ready to mount challenge on fifth weekend of Intercontinental Round  
06.07.2008 France, Russia, USA, Poland sit in qualifying positions to join Brazil in FIVB World League Final Round after fourth weekend of Intercontinental Round  
02.07.2008 FIVB World League 2008: Excitement builds as fourth weekend of Intercontinental Round action approaches  
30.06.2008 Brazil, Russia, China, USA lead pools after third weekend of FIVB World League Intercontinental Rounds  
27.06.2008 I am very satisfied with this victory, says French Coach Philippe Blain  
25.06.2008 Only one team still with 100 percent record as FIVB 2008 World League enters third weekend of Intercontinental Round action  
22.06.2008 Russia still unbeaten after second weekend in 2008 FIVB World League  
22.06.2008 Venezuela make history in beating Serbia  
19.06.2008 Big teams face tricky away trips as 2008 FIVB World League heats up on second weekend of Intercontinental Round action  
16.06.2008 Overall Report (June.14th ~June.15th)  
16.06.2008 Brazil, USA, Russia, Bulgaria, France get off to perfect starts as fans flock to start of 2008 FIVB World League  
12.06.2008 2008 FIVB World League to start Friday with exciting clashes between top teams  
06.06.2008 Countdown to 2008 FIVB World League: 'Match of the Week' Brazil vs. Serbia and China vs. Japan stand out ahead of first weekend of Intercontinental Rounds  
03.06.2008 FIVB approves Chinese request to switch host city from Chengdu to Hangzhou for 2008 World League matches after devastation caused by earthquake  
28.05.2008 U.S Men hold of Argentina in five-set friendly win  
28.05.2008 FIVB confirms World League 'Match of the Week' schedule: Six live Intercontinental Round matches made available free of charge to TV channels  
16.05.2008 Egypt Head Coach selects squad for 2008 FIVB World League; Iran camp cancelled  
30.04.2008 FIVB confirms receipt of World League team lists  
15.04.2008 USA Men to play against Argentina  
03.04.2008 FIVB confirms 2008 World League match schedule  
21.02.2008 USA Volleyball announces host cities for 2008 World League  
12.02.2008 Venezuela to compete in the 2008 FIVB World League  
23.01.2008 A bid for a place in the FIVB World League 2008, after Canada’s withdrawal  
15.10.2007 Spain returns to the FIVB World League 2008  
28.09.2007 FIVB World League 2008: a confirmation of success. Brazil will organize the Final Round. Francesco Franchi nominated President of the World League Council