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Finland, Poland to duke it out for possible Wild Card berth

Mauro Berruto gives instructions to Finnish libero Pasi Hyvärinen.

Tampere, Finland, July 8, 2009 - Finland, fresh off a shock 3-2 victory over Brazil last Saturday, will now face Poland at the Tampere Ice Hockey Arena on Friday and Saturday.

Both teams have 11 points, while pool leader Brazil has 21 points. Poland and Finland will fight hard for second place in the pool and a possibility to get to the Final Six in Belgrade. After the matches in Tampere the teams move to Bydgoszcz, Poland for their final Intercontinental Round matches the following weekend.

"These 4 matches versus Poland will be a great test for our team. The most difficult thing after our victory against Brazil will be to be mentally ready for a new fight," said Finnish coach Mauro Berruto.

"I'm sure on Friday we'll need to play again at 120 percent. We must know that and be ready for the first match. Sport is amazing and simultaneously cruel because when you achieve something, the next day you must be ready for something more difficult."

"It's wonderful to have this opportunity to play 6 matches in a row (Brazil last week and Poland the next two weeks) facing the gold and silver medalists from the last World Championship (Japan 2006)."

"Our skin has to shiver because of that ... and because we know that next four matches against Poland will define who finishes in 2nd place in our pool and has the opportunity of winning the wild card to join the Final Round in Belgrade. It's marvelous to see Finland fighting for such a goal," Berruto said.

Polish team went to Tampere without Michal Bakiewicz, who has few days for rest. Pawel Woicki will play as a Polish captain in Finland. Wojciech Grzyb, who didn't play against Venezuela in Wroclaw, returns to the squad.


"In the next few days we'll spend a lot of time watching tapes and preparing for those important matches", Polish setter Grzegorz Lomacz said.


"We all know we have to be 100% ready if we want to win in Tampere. Both teams have 11 points. We want to be ahead of them at the end of the Intercontinental Round so we can't afford any mistakes", added Lomacz just after Poland took off towards Tampere.


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