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Finland: a test for Portugal’s return

Portugal return to the FIVB Volleyball World League for the first time since 2006
Porto, Portugal, May 26, 2011 - The two matches of the inaugural weekend of the 2011 FIVB Volleyball World League between returning Portugal and Finland are creating great expectations.

On one side of the court will be a Portuguese team used to winning – with 18 victories in 20 matches that allowed the team direct qualification for the 2011 European Championships finals and victory in the 2010 European League – and eager to demonstrate all its potential in the year that marks their return to the World League.

The fact that they play in front of the home crowd and in Póvoa de Varzim makes the national team even more ambitious, a statement underlined by coach Juan Diaz.

“The first two weekends will be crucial, since we will face two opponents to which we want to win and to start well the competition would be very stimulating for the players and for the working group,” he said. “We will play four matches at home and then we will start travelling. If we achieve positive results in these matches, that it will be a major step into the path to our goals.”

In their last test before the World League, Portugal won two out of the three friendly matches they played against Spain (3-1, 3-1 and 2-3).

Meanwhile Finland will be hoping to begin well. The side returned to the World League in 2006, coached at that time by the Italian coach Mauro Berrito – currently coach of the Italian team, and they have already proven that their place among the world’s elite is deserved.

Now under the leadership of Argentinean Daniel Castellani, Finland also played two friendly matches against China, with the one narrow loss ahead of a stirring victory (2-3 and 3-0)
 
One minor setback could be the recent introduction of the coach and that adaptation could be something the relatively settled Portuguese team could use to their advantage.



  

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