Poland were the surprise victors of the 2012 FIVB World
League, but are now among the favourites for this years’
looks at how the newly expanded tourna-
ment is shaping up.
The whole of Poland is already dreaming of a gold medal for the
home team at next year’s World Championship, but national coach
Andrea Anastasi has his sights set on a far more important goal in
the coming months.
Last year’s World League victory triggered huge celebrations
throughout the country. It was, after all, the first major international
volleyball title since Olympic victory back in 1976. Of the winning
team only Pawel Zagumny is missing and the likes of Bartosz Kurek,
Zbigniew Bartman and Marcin Mozdzonek are fired up and ready
to go ahead of their opening match against Brazil in Warsaw on
June 7.
We are fully focussed on the opening game of the World League
against Brazil,” Anastasi said. “The Polish national team can achieve
an awful lot again this year.
It is good that the groups are based on the world rankings. That
way we are able to play against the best teams in the world – that
is the only way to improve.”
FIVB world champions Brazil will be out to make up for a
disappointing sixth place finish in 2012. Furthermore the seven-
time winners will be without star players Giba and Sergio, both of
whom retired following the South American’s silver-medal winning
performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In their absence
Bruno, son of the coach Bernardinho, takes over as captain as the
South Americans start the reconstruction process.
We are looking to build a team that can challenge for the title over
the next few years,” Bernardinho said.
This year the tournament has increased in size from 16 to 18 teams
and each team will now play two matches over one weekend,
which lessens the burden of travel. Six teams will progress to the
final round that takes place in the Islas Malvinas competition hall
in Mar del Plata from June 17 to 21. As host, Argentina is already
guaranteed its place at the final showdown, two places will be up
for grabs in Group A, which consists of Brazil, Poland, USA, France
and Bulgaria and two teams will also progress to the final round
from Group B, which features Russia, Cuba, Italy, Germany, Serbia
and Iran.
Group C is made up of teams from lower down the world rankings –
The Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Finland and Portugal,
so only the winner of the group will reach the final round. Finland
and Poland open this year’s World League season when they meet
on May 31 in Helsinki. The USA, silver medallists last time out, have a
new coaching team of John Speraw and former FIVB Beach Volleyball
The Polish national team can
achieve an awful lot again this