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Finland seeks first World League victory over USA

David Lee blocks with one hand the spike of Jukka Lehtonen in the World League match in 2008 in Espoo, Finland.

Tampere, Finland, June 8, 2010 – Finland will be looking to improve their record against USA when the two teams meeting Week Two of the 2010 FIVB World League in Tampere, Finland on Friday and Saturday. Finland has never beaten USA in the World League. The two teams played in the same pool in 2008 and Finland could only take three sets in four matches. Finland and USA have played each other 15 times with USA victorious 13 times. Finland's only victories coming in 1978 and 1979.

During the 2010 World League first weekend, USA lost both their matches to Russia in Ekaterinburg while Finland lost their first home match in Tampere against Egypt before claiming the second.

Finnish coach Mauro Berruto knows that USA will be a very tough opponent, as well as Russia, in this year's World League.

"We will have eight very tough matches against USA and Russia during the next four weekends. Anything that is coming to us in those matches is fine, knowing that we will meet two of the world's top level teams", Berruto said. "We will fight in every set and then we will see how many points we get. We will play not thinking too much."

There is concern for Finland over centre blocker Konstantin Shumov, who hurt his ankle and is in doubt against USA. Setter Mikko Esko will not be playing this weekend and so other setters Eemi Tervaportti and Simo-Pekka Olli will get their chance to show their skills in the World League.

USA is playing in Finland without outside hitter Reid Priddy, who travelled to Russia, but had to return home for a family emergency.
USA was disappointed with their performance in Russia, particularly the first match, which they lost in straight sets.
"We simply want to get better week-by-week during this World League," coach Alan Knipe said. "We are looking forward to playing better Volleyball in Finland but we know that they are a better team than the one the U.S. played in the 2008 World League."


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