in race for Final Round
Switzerland, June 20, 2004 – Six of the 12 teams in the
2004 World League remain in serious contention for the
three vacancies in the Final Round with hosts Italy
following the completion of week three of the six-week
long Intercontinental Round on Sunday.
Pic: France and Bulgaria are in a tight race to win Pool
Week three saw in Pool A, defending World
League champions Brazil collect two 3-0 wins over
Portugal, while Greece beat Spain 3-1, 3-0. In Pool B,
France and Bulgaria split their matches 0-3, 3-1, while
Poland kept Japan winless without conceding a set. Pool
C saw Italy beat China 3-0, 3-1 and Serbia and
Montenegro beat Cuba by the same score line.
At the halfway stage (six of 12 matches) of the
Intercontinental Round, Brazil, with six wins, have made
a break in Pool A on Greece (four wins) while Spain and
Portugal, who have one win apiece, are struggling to
remain in contention.
Pool B features a fascinating race for the top spot
between Poland, France and Bulgaria, who have five, four
and three victories respectively, while Japan are still
to record a victory.
With Italy, who lead Pool C with five wins, already
qualified for the four-team Final Round, Olympic
champions Serbia and Montenegro (four wins) must finish
ahead of Cuba (two wins) and China (one win) to qualify
for the next phase.
"At this stage of the tournament I am very satisfied
with our results and the approach we had this weekend,”
said coach of Serbia and Montenegro Ljubomir Travica.
“We must play the remaining matches with the same
approach and improve our form to reach the finals. The
new approach should be the new character of our play, as
there must be no falls. We must play to the fullest
however good or bad we play."
The remaining three weeks promises to be an exciting run
home to the Final Round with two matches each weekend
until the final weekend on July 9-11.
The best classified team from each pool joins hosts
Italy in the World League Final Round from July 16-18.
Three opens with crunch Pool B clash
Switzerland, June 18, 2004 – Two key Pool B matches
between France and Bulgaria in Nancy highlight Week 3 of
the 2004 World League when the FIVB’s premier
international men’s Volleyball tournament continues on
After two weeks of the six-week Intercontinental Round,
the competition amongst the four teams in each of the
three pools is fierce. The best classified team from
each pool in the Intercontinental Round will join hosts
Italy for the four-team World League Final Round in
Pic: Serbia and Montenegro are hoping to collect
two wins against Cuba.
In Pool B, France, with three wins from four
matches, is equal with Poland on seven points in first
place, while Bulgaria have six points from two wins and
two defeats. This weekend’s matches between France and
Bulgaria (the first at 17:00 GMT on Friday and the
second on Saturday at 16:00 GMT) are crucial in the race
for top spot in the pool. The two sides played each
other in the first week on action in Bulgaria with
France winning the first match 3-2, before Bulgaria
claimed the second 3-0.
In Friday’s other matches, current Pool C leaders Italy
will be looking to repeat their first weekend result of
two wins against China, when they play the first of two
matches in Shanghai at 11:45 GMT. While last year’s
World League runner’s up Serbia and Montenegro will play
their 100th World League match when they play Cuba in
Beograd at 15:30 GMT.
Sitting one point behind Italy and equal with Cuba with
two wins and two defeats, Serbia and Montenegro are
eager for two victories to stay in contention for the
World League Final Round, having dropped matches against
China and Cuba in earlier rounds. Overall in the World
League, the Blue Team has won 60 times against 39
defeats and this weekend, they would like to improve
that record further.
“Two victories in matches against Cuba are of utmost
importance for us,” coach of Serbia and Montenegro Ljuba
Travica said. “We have to do our best, triumph both
times and wait for the final result in the
intercontinental round. We have complicated the
situation for us in relation to the final tournament and
now we have no choice but to win both times, as that is
how we can go to Rome.”
Completing the action on Friday sees Poland host Japan
in Pool B in Katowice at 16:50 GMT while in Valencia,
Spain take on Greece in a Pool A match starting at 18:00
The defending champions and unbeaten Pool A leaders
Brazil play their first match on Saturday against
Portugal in Campo Grande starting at 14:00 GMT.
With $13m in prize money the World League is the richest
and most significant annual FIVB tournament. The
Intercontinental Round finishes on July 11 and is
followed by the World League Final Round from July 16-18
in Rome, Italy.