2004 FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX

  World Grand Prix 2004 Press & News WEEK 3 (18-24 July)  
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WRAP UP
Teams confirmed for Final Round

Lausanne, Switzerland, July 24, 2004 Brazil, Cuba, China, USA, Italy and Germany confirmed their places in the Final Round of the 2004 World Grand Prix after the Preliminary Round was completed on Saturday in Korea, China and Germany.
Pic: Tanja Hart (left), Angelina Gruen in action during Germany's charge towards a Final Round spot
Heading into the third and final week of the Preliminary Round, all 12 teams had a chance of claiming a spot in the Final Round, which went to the best five ranked teams and the organizer Italy but it was Germany, playing in front of their own crowd in Rostock, who pipped Russia and Poland to claim the sixth spot.

Germany needed to win their final three matches and that is what they did, including two 3-2 thrillers against Russia (25-18, 16-25, 27-29, 28-26, 15-12) and USA (25-23, 21-25, 16-25, 25-17, 15-12) in their final two games. Russia needed to win at least two of their matches but they lost to USA 3-1 (25-13, 21-25, 25-21, 25-15) and Germany before beating Thailand 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 27-25, 25-17).

Brazil claimed the top spot after beating second placed Cuba in a decisive match in Jeju, Korea on Sunday 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-22). The win completed nine straight victories for Brazil, who also beat Korea 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-17) and Japan 3-1 (25-13, 25-17, 22-25, 25-19) during the final week. Cuba finished second after beating Korea 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-22) and Japan 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-22) before losing the key clash against Brazil.

Defending champions China finished third despite losing their final match to Italy 3-1 (16-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-20). The world number one team had earlier beaten Poland 3-1 (25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 25-15) and Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-22). Italy, who finished fifth, had earlier lost to 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-18) before beating Dominican Republic 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 29-27, 25-19).

USA secured fourth spot by beating Russia 3-1 (25-13, 21-25, 25-21, 25-15) and Thailand 3-2 (25-17, 25-20, 22-25, 22-25, 15-5) before losing to Germany.

Final standings

1 Brazil 9 wins o defeats
2 Cuba 8 wins 1 defeat
3 China 7 wins 2 defeats
4 U.S.A. 6 wins 3 defeats
5 Italy 6 wins 3 defeats
6 Germany 5 wins 4 defeats
7 Russia 4 wins 5 defeats
8 Poland 4 wins 5 defeats
9 Japan 2 wins 7 defeats
10 Thailand 1 win 8 defeats
11 Korea 1 win 8 defeats
12 Dominican Republic 1 win 8 defeats

The World Grand Prix Final Round featuring Brazil, Cuba, China, USA, Italy and Germany starts on Wednesday in Reggio Calabria and finishes on August 1.
 
PREVIEW
Crunch time ahead with final week of Preliminary Round action

July 21, 2004 - The third and final Preliminary Round of the 2004 World Grand Prix starts on Thursday with all 12 teams still in contention for the Final Round, which will be hald in Italy next week.

Italy plus the top five ranked teams after the Preliminary Rounds will qualify for the Final Round, and all 12 teams can still finish in the top six.

Russia, in sixth spot, has three wins, while four teams - Japan, Korea, Thailand and the Dominican Republic, sit at the bottom of the table with one win apiece. With three matches remaining in the final week every still has a chance of booking a ticket to Italy.
Pic: USA's defence was impressive in Week Two

The reason for starting the Preliminary Round one day earlier this week is because of the final round following directly after this weekend.

For the first time in the World Grand Prix history the Preliminary Round of this important women's event will be hosted in Germany. In Rostock the teams of Germany, Russia, USA and Thailand will fight for the last ticket to qualify for the final round.

Team USA has the best chance of qualifying for the Final Round in Italy but with the German and Russian teams trying to use their last chances for qualification the tension and excitement will be enormous. Especially the match on Friday between Germany and Russia, which will be a decisive match.

In Hefei, China is ready to show to their home crowd their best performance. It's the last time before going to the Olympic Games that the team plays in China. The Chinese Team will play against Italy, Dominican Republic and Poland. The Chinese fans welcomed the Polish team. After their excellent performance during the 2nd week and still having the chance to qualify for the final round the players are ready to spring a good surprise.

Korea, back as host organizer for the World Grand Prix will host the last pool in Jeju City. The Korean and Japanese teams need to bring their best result. With Brazil and Cuba, ranked 1 and 2, both Asian teams will have tough opponents.

The best two ranked teams after the first two weeks, Brazil and Cuba will play the decisive match on the last day of the competition on July 24.

The Final Round of the World Grand Prix will start on July 28 in Reggio Calabria, Italy. The host organizer, Italy and the best five ranked teams after the preliminary round will qualify.