Monday, 18 June 2018
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Bulgaria, Japan eager to get World League campaigns back on track

Bulgaria will be without their captain Konstantinov (No. 17) but anxious to get in the win column after two losses to Cuba
Bulgaria is impatiently looking forward to its first home matches of this year’s World League after having suffered two losses in Cuba during the competition’s first weekend. 
Everybody involved - coaches, players, media and fans - are eager to see the Lions prove that what happened in Cuba was just a small stumble on the road to another successful season in one of the most popular sporting events in the southern European country.
The beautiful Black Sea city of Varna is once again the venue of all of Bulgaria's home matches, which begin this weekend against Japan. 
The Lions returned to Varna from Havana on Tuesday and managed to squeeze in their first training session in preparation for the encounters with Japan. 
Italian coach of the Bulgarians, Silvano Prandi, who made his debut against Cuba, has yet to decide whether changes to his 14-strong squad are necessary to produce a more successful performance against Japan.
The last time Japan beat Bulgaria was back in October 2002 at the FIVB World Championship in Argentina after a five-set thriller in Buenos Aires. In the 2004 World League, Bulgaria secured four wins against their East Asian rival and followed that up with two more victories at the 2007 World Cup and the 2008 Olympics.
Bulgarian captain Andrey Zhekov appeared calm after returning from Havana: “We played well, especially in the first match in Cuba, although the results do not show it. We are now particularly motivated to win twice against Japan, which is a must if we want to qualify for the Final Round. The team is working hard under the new coaching staff. We are training and learning new things and we are all convinced they will lead us to good results.”

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