Belgrade, Serbia, June 09, 2009 - Serbia, the hosts of the Final Round of competition at the 2009 FIVB World League, take on traditionally dangerous rivals France in the opening weekend of the 20th edition of the premier international Volleyball event.
The "Tricolores" return to Serbia, to the cities of Nis and Belgrade, after being in the same pool with the Serbian team in the Intercontinental Round of the 2008 World League.
Head Coaches and Team Captains of both Serbian and French teams have spoken at today’s Press Conference held in Nis.
Quotes from the Head Coaches and Team Captains follow:
Serbian Head Coach Igor Kolakovic: “It is our great pleasure to play these matches in Nis, the people here have showed us their hospitality on more than one occasion, and we are very satisfied with all the facilities and conditions they have provided us. High temperature, though, is a slight problem, but what can you do. Of course, our pleasure is even bigger when we play such a strong team like the French are, they are very patient and persistent and it will be a good challenge for us. We expect to have the support from our fans, like we always do here, and I hope these two matches will be very interesting for all the spectators.”
French Head Coach Philippe Blain:”We are very happy to start the competition, we begun preparing with the younger team, and step by step we were introducing other players, so now all of them are eager to enter the competition. Our goal this year is to qualify to the Final Tournament, so we must come before Korean and Argentinean team, but the matches against Serbia will be very interesting and we will gain some positive experience from this weekend.”
Serbian Team Captain Bojan Janic:”We were looking forward to this moment, and I am glad we are playing with France over the first weekend because it is always very interesting and in recent years, no matter what teams are playing on both sides, our matches were thrilling and unpredictable. We won’t lack motivation even though we play with younger team and the result is not so important for us, but for sure we must fight and we will do our best to win.”
French Team Captain Marien Moreau:”It is a bit strange that we are starting this years’ World League in the place where we lost both matches over the last weekend in 2008, so we will try to do better this time.”
The first match between Serbia and France at the opening of this years’ World League Pool A is scheduled for Friday, from 20.30h.
Previous matches between Serbia and France:
The National Volleyball Team of Serbia has played France 32 times on the international scene: at the Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, World League and European Championships.
The "Blue Boys" enjoy the advantage, having won 19 times and lost 13, with a set ratio of 70:59.
In World League play, Serbia (Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro) and France have played 11 matches, with Serbia winning six and losing five, with a set ratio of 24:21.
On two occasions, in 2002 and 2008, the two countries found themselves in the same pool in the Intercontinental Round.
In their first World League encounter, France beat Yugoslavia 3-0 in Katowice, Poland, in the 2001 edition.
Their last match was played in Belgrade last year on the sixth weekend of the 2008 World League Intercontinental Round Pool A. Serbia won the match 3-1.