Poland are confident of defending their World League title this year.
World Tour player Matt Fuerbringer. However, with star player
Clayton Stanley absent, the focus is on the long-term development of
the team, with the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games the eventual
target.
It goes without saying that we want to do well in the World League,
but first and foremost we want to find a team that is capable of
winning in Rio,” Speraw said.
It is a similar story for 2012’s surprise package, Germany. Coach Vital
Heynen has opted to rest star players Gyorgy Grozer and captain
Bjorn Andrae and instead will give a chance to some up and coming
young players.
I want to give a few new, young players a chance and see how
they get on,” Heynen said. “The World League provides us with the
perfect opportunity to play against the best teams in the world.”
Olympic champions Russia will be coached by Andrey Voronkov and
captained by Dmitriy Muserskiy, whose 31 points in the Olympic gold
medal match did so much to spark their comeback against Brazil.
Olympic bronze medallists Italy will be without experienced stars
Samuel Papi, Luigi Mastrangelo and Alessandro Fei, while last year’s
fourth-placed team, Bulgaria, also have a new man at the helm in the
shape of Camilo Placi who steps up from assistant to replace Nayden
Naydenov as head coach.
One team hoping to cause a stir among the established volleyball
teams are the 2011 Asian champions Iran. Legendary Italy coach
Julio Velasco has led them into the World League for the first time
and while he won the title five times as Italy coach, he sees the
tournament as another step in Iran’s progress towards breaking into
the elite level of teams at the 2014 FIVB World Championship.
We are prepared to play in the World League, Velasco said, “but
we must continue our positive development this year and in 2014.”
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