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Thirsty for revenge, Poland hosts unbeaten Brazil

Poland celebrates during a friendly match against Egypt

Lodz, Poland, June 24, 2009 - Two weeks after a disappointing debut at the 2009 FIVB World League, Poland will have a chance to make amends for the two losses in suffered at the hands Brazil in Sao Paulo.

Beaten 3-1 and 3-0, the Polish team will try to put in a much better performance in this weekend's highly anticipated matches with the South Americans.

"For such a young team, every single game is a priceless experience," Poland's coach Daniel Castellani said. "We looked quite nervous and we didn't play well. The good thing about those losses is that the boys really learned a lot and I think it was noticeable in Venezuela (a week later)."

The Poles won both matches in La Guaira and moved from the bottom of the table to 2nd place in Group D. This time the young Polish team should feel much more comfortable since they will play in front of a home crowd. The support of 13,000 people who are crazy about volleyball should really make a difference.

"In Sao Paulo we only won a single set, but I'm deeply convinced that this time we'll achieve much more," Castellani said. "I expect my team not only to play better than in Brazil, but to really challenge the World Champions."

Poland and Brazil will meet on Saturday and Sunday in the brand new Arena Lodz. It will be the first official test at this venue.

The host team has no injury worries. Bartosz Kurek, who sprained his ankle during the first game in Sao Paulo, was surprisingly ready to play against Venezuela last weekend.

"It's a kind of miracle," the Polish wing-spiker said. "Our physiotherapist must be a magician," Kurek was the top scorer in Poland's 3-0 win over Venezuela last Sunday.

For the first time, Castellani's team will play with two liberos, which means there will be 14 players on the squad. Brazil comes to Lodz as the strong leader of the pool. They have lost only 1 point out of 12 so far, after a hard-fought 3-2 win against Finland last Friday.

Including this year's matches, Poland and Brazil have met 16 times in the FIVB World League. The South Americans hold a 12-4 advantage.

Press conference:

Brazilian Head Coach Bernardo Rezende: It’s  always a great pleasure to play in Poland. The Polish fans are fantastic and the new hall looks really sensational. Some people may be surprised that last weekend we lost a point against Finland. The Finns played really good. Although some of my players as Giba and Rodrigao had joined the team only a week earlier and there was no automatism in their game. At this point we’re not the best team in the world but we’ re just at the beginning of a new cycle.

Polish Head Coach Daniel Castellani: It will be a very special weekend here in Lodz. First of all because we play against Brazil – the best team of the last decade. Secondly it’s the opening of this great venue. People in Poland can be really proud of it. My team had a very difficult debut in Brazil, but just a week later in Venezuela they showed they know how to play volleyball. Without the jitters and unnecessary nervousness those boys can compete with anybody. I’m sure the fans will see a fantastic show and hopefully Poland wins.

Polish Team Captain Michal Bakiewicz: I speak in the name of the whole team – we’re really happy we’re back home. I’m sure in front of our fans we’ll be able to show all of our trumps and the supporter we’ll be satisfied. The hall is amazing and we all hope will be fortunate for us as well.


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