World League 2004 Press & News WEEK 2 (11-13 June)  
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Brazil only unbeaten team after two weeks

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 13, 2004 – Defending World League champions Brazil are the only side to keep an unbeaten record following the second weekend of matches of the $13m World League.

Brazil, who as world champions and world cup title holders are favourites to win the World League title again, came from one set down to defeat Spain 3-1 (26-28, 25-14, 25-19, 25-20) on Saturday before collecting a 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-16) win on Sunday in front of 11,000 fans for each match in Sao Paolo. They maintain their perfect record of four wins from four matches in Pool A to sit two points clear of Greece, who registered their first wins of the competition with 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-18) and 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-22, 25-13) victories over Portugal.

"The home fans always make a huge party for our team,” Giovane Gavio, the Brazlian captain said. “Sometimes it can affect our emotions and I think this happened in game one. In the second game we were much more relaxed on the court and played with much more consistency.”

Meanwhile, Poland and Italy, who were both unbeaten after the first weekend, lost their first matches of the competition in Week Two.

Poland beat Bulgaria 3-1 (25-22, 25-15, 21-25, 25-23) in their first match on Friday in Bydgoszcz but Bulgaria fought back on Saturday to win 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-22, 25-20) for their second win of the tournament. Poland now sit equal with France, who recorded two straight sets victories over Japan, in Pool B with three wins from four matches.

Italy still hold a one point lead over Serbia and Montenegro and Cuba in Pool C despite losing their first match of the competition on Friday to Cuba. The young Cuba side fought bravely to prevail 3-2 (29-27, 23-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-13) in Livorno before Italy reversed the result on Sunday with a comprehensive 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-14) victory.

China collected their first win of the tournament by defeating last year’s runner’s up Serbia and Montenegro on Friday in Novi Sad 3-2 (28-26, 20-25, 25-22, 19-25, 16-14). However, after the stunning victory, China were no match on Saturday in Beograd as Serbia and Montenegro strolled to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-19) win.

The 2004 World League continues next weekend with 12 more games featuring two more games for each side.

The top three teams will join hosts Italy in the World League Final Round from July 16-18.
 
PREVIEW
Plenty at stake for teams in Week Two
Lausanne, Switzerland, June 11, 2004 – Three teams - Greece, Japan and China - will be looking to record their first victories of the 2004 World League when Week Two of the FIVB’s premier international men’s Volleyball tournament begins on Friday.

Greece, the hosts of the 2004 Olympic Games, play Portugal in the opening match of Week Two in Larissa starting at 14:00 GMT. In last weekend’s opening round Greece were beaten twice by World League champions Brazil and currently sit bottom of Pool A with two points.
Pic: Ko Tanimura and Japan are looking for their first win  
Brazil, meanwhile, host Spain, who won one game and lost another against Portugal in round one, in the other Pool A action in São Paulo starting on Saturday (13:00 GMT).

In Pool B, Japan will take on France, who won one of two games against Bulgaria last week, in Paris with their first match starting at 19:00 GMT on Friday. Meanwhile, undefeated Pool B leaders Poland host Bulgaria on Friday (16:50 GMT) in the first of two matches over the weekend in Bydgoszcz.

The third side still to win, China, have a big assignment in front of them in Pool C. They travel to the home of last year’s World League runner’s up Serbia and Montenegro to play in Novi Sad and Beograd on Friday (15:30 GMT) and Saturday (15:30 GMT) respectively. The Blue Team are aiming for nothing less than two victories after a win and a loss against Cuba in Week One.

“We could have been better against Cuba, but now we are only thinking about the next matches,” said Ljuba Travica, the head coach of Serbia and Montenegro. “China has a young but very promising team. We want to play in the final tournament in Rome and that is why we can't let any mistakes happen.”

The other clash in the pool offers two exciting matches between unbeaten Italy and the developing Cuban side in the Italian cities of Livorno on Friday (18:30 GMT) and Montecatini on Sunday (16:00 GMT). Italy, as hosts of the World League Final Round, automatically qualify for the final phase, which will be held in Rome from July 16-18. But they already showed they are on top of their game in last weekend’s opening round when they beat China twice (3-0, 3-1).

The best classified team from each pool in the Intercontinental Round will join hosts Italy for the four-team final round.

With $13m in prize money the World League is the richest and most significant annual FIVB tournament and this year’s competition is no different with the crème de la crème of international men’s Volleyball doing battle.