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Finland and Portugal chasing third place

Finland center Konstantin Shumov tries to block a spike by Portugal's Joao Malveiro during an earlier meeting

Tampere, Finland, June 28, 2011 – Finland and Portugal will battle it out for the third place in Pool C in their last two matches of this year's FIVB World League in Tampere on Thursday and Friday.

Finland look favourites to finish third given they occupy that position with 12 points to Portugal's eight but their visitors will do all they can to avoid the wooden spoon and, moreover, the threat of having to qualify for the 2012 event.

"Now that qualification [for the Final Round] is impossible for us, we have to get more points to guarantee our presence in next year's edition of the World League. Against Finland we will try to add more points. We want to give opportunities to the younger players as Joao Jose and Andre Lopes will not be able to travel to Tampere," said Portugal coach Juan Diaz.

Finland's team will probably be unchanged from their last five games and Daniel Castellani's side seem to have found some form judging by their efforts in Argentina last week, where they lost 3-2 but then won 3-1.

Portugal enjoyed two victories over the Finns on the World League's opening weekend of May 28-29 – they prevailed 3-2 and 3-1 – but their hosts expect a different outcome this week. Castellani will send out a determined dozen onto the court at the Tampere Ice Arena, and only two victories will satisfy them.


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