World League 2004 Press & News WEEK 4 (25-27 June)  
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Serbia and Montenegro beat Italy twice to claim Pool C lead

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 27, 2004 – Two clinical performances from Serbia and Montenegro saw the Olympic champions beat world number two Italy 3-2 and 3-1 and leapfrog the Italians at the top of the Pool C standings on the completion of week four of the six-week long Intercontinental Round of the 2004 World League on Sunday.
Pic: Serbia and Montenegro and their coach Ljubomir Travica celebrate victory
Both teams experimented with their lineups during the two matches in Verona and Modena but Serbia and Montenegro proved too innovative and strong in claiming the first match (21-25, 32-30, 17-25, 26-24, 15-8) and the second match (22-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-19).

"There were suggestions at home about my choice to bring some young players here and not play with a stronger team,” Ljubomir Travica, the Serbia & Montenegro coach, said. “It was a risk, a real risk, but calculated. We have shown that we can win with any team now".

Serbia and Montenegro, last year’s World League runner’s up, now lead Pool C with six wins and two defeats. Victory in either of their two matches against China next weekend will confirm their spot in the Final Round.

The best classified team from each pool joins hosts Italy in the World League Final Round from July 16-18.

China sit third in Pool C with three victories after beating Cuba twice at home; 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-21, 25-23) and 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-21). Cuba are fourth with two wins.

Pool B, meanwhile, remains unchanged at the top with Poland maintaining their lead after they lost to and then defeated France in two exhilarating matches in Nantes. France won the opening match 3-2 (25-22, 26-24, 22-25, 22-25, 17-15) before Poland replied in the second game 3-2 (25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 18-25, 15-8).

Poland lead Pool B with six wins and two defeats while France (five wins, three defeats) have been joined by Bulgaria, who kept Japan winless with two victories in Tokorozawa (3-1 (29-27, 25-21, 23-25, 25-23) and 3-2 (25-15, 25-18, 21-25, 22-25, 15-10)), each having five wins and three defeats to their name.

Defending champions Brazil just need one win from their four remaining matches in Pool A to secure a berth in the Final Round. They beat second-placed Greece 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-21) and 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-22) in front of amazing crowds in Belo Horizonte.

Unbeaten Brazil now lead Pool A with eight victories with Greece the next best side with four wins and four defeats.

 
PREVIEW
Big Pool C showdown highlights Week 4 action

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 25, 2004 – Italy versus Serbia and Montenegro is the headline act as Week 4 of the 2004 World League begins on Friday.

The Pool C clash is a match up between the silver and bronze medalists at the 2003 World Cup and the bronze and silver medalists at last year’s World League competition respectively and is the first time these two Volleyball giants have met in this year's competition.
Pic: Italy will be looking to maintain their lead at the top of Pool C during Week 4 of the World League
With only three weeks left in Intercontinental Round action, Italy (five wins) lead Serbia and Montenegro (four wins) at the top of the pool but as Final Round hosts, Italy, the European champions, automatically qualify for the final phase. Serbia and Montenegro must finish ahead of Cuba and China, who have two victories and one victory respectively, to progress to the last four.

The first of two matches between the No 2 and No 3 teams on the world rankings starts at 18:30 GMT in Verona. The second match is at 16:00 GMT on Sunday in Modena.

China and Cuba play the opening match of the weekend at 11:45 GMT in Shanghai before playing again on Saturday at the same time.

Friday’s only other match sees France host Poland in the first of two key Pool B matches, with both sides looking to make a break on the other at the top of Pool B. The 18:15 GMT matches on Friday and Saturday in Nantes see Poland hoping to extend their one point lead on France at the top of the pool. Poland have 11 points from five wins while France have 10 points from four victories.

Pool B’s other matches see winless Japan host third placed Bulgaria (three wins) on Saturday (06:00 GMT) and Sunday (05:00 GMT) in Tokorozawa.

Meanwhile, defending champions Brazil will be looking to continue their unbeaten run in Pool A in two matches against second-placed Greece (four wins, two defeats) in Belo Horizonte at 13:00 GMT on Saturday and Sunday. Portugal and Spain clash in the other Pool A showdown in Porto on Saturday and Sunday at 16:00 GMT.

At the end of the six weeks of Intercontinental Round action the best classified team from each pool joins hosts Italy in the World League Final Round from July 16-18.