World League 2004 Press & News WEEK 5 (02-04 July)  
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WRAP UP
Three out of four finalists confirmed German

Lausanne, Switzerland, July 04, 2004 – World League defending champions Brazil and Olympic champions Serbia and Montenegro confirmed their spots in the World League Final Round alongside hosts Italy after collecting double victories in Week 5 of the 2004 World League.
Pic: Serbia and Montenegro celebrate qualifying for the World League Final Round, which starts on July 16
Their wins over Spain and China respectively secured their positions at the top of Pool A and Pool C to confirm their spots in the World League Final Round, which starts on July 16 in Rome.

Brazil, who are also World Cup holders and world champions, needed to win a minimum of four sets at the beginning of the weekend to secure a Final Round spot but their close fought victory on Friday over Spain 3-2 (25-20, 25-21, 23-25, 34-36, 15-4) was enough. Another 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-19) victory on Sunday maintained their unbeaten run in Pool A of the Intercontinental Round.

Meanwhile, Serbia and Montenegro confirmed their Final Round spot when they beat China in their first match on Saturday 3-2 (27-25, 25-27, 25-20, 20-25, 15-11). The defeat extinguished any hope China had of beating Serbia and Montenegro for the top spot in Pool C and their second match on Sunday was a mere formality for the visitors 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-20).

The other Final Round finalists Italy also collected two wins in Pool C on the weekend, beating Cuba 3-2 (17-25, 25-16, 21-25, 25-19, 15-8) and 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-20) in Havana.

The team to claim the last spot in the Final Round will come from Pool B but will be decided in next week’s final week of the Intercontinental Round.

With two games left to play both Bulgaria and France are tied at the top of Pool B with seven victories and three defeats, while Poland are also in with a chance with six wins and four losses.

Bulgaria beat Poland twice in Varna on the weekend 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-15) and 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-22) while a second-string French side collected two victories in Tokyo over Japan 3-0 (25-13, 25-23, 25-20) and 3-2 (25-27, 25-19, 25-16, 27-29, 15-11).

Next weekend’s final matches see Poland play France in Katowice while Bulgaria hosts Japan.

The other games of the weekend saw Portugal beat Greece twice in Pool A 3-2 (23-25, 22-25, 25-23, 28-26, 15-13) and (18-25, 17-25, 26-24, 25-22, 15-13).
 
PREVIEW
Two finals spots could be sealed this weekend  Spanish

Lausanne, Switzerland, July 02, 2004 – Two of the three finalists who will join Italy in the World League Final Round could be confirmed this weekend following Week 5 action in the 2004 World League Intercontinental Round.

Defending champions Brazil and last year’s runner’s up Serbia and Montenegro need just one victory in Pool A and Pool C respectively this weekend to win their group and confirm their places with Italy, who automatically qualify for the Final Round as hosts, at the World League Final Round in Rome from July 16-18. Pool B will provide the fourth finalist.
Pic: Brazil can qualify for the Final Round if they beat Spain like they did in Week 2?
Unbeaten Brazil take on Spain in Valladolid – first match on Friday at 18:00 GMT and the second on Sunday at 10:30 GMT – having beaten the Spaniards at home in Week 2 3-1, 3-0. The world champions and World Cup holders need to either win one game or claim four sets from their four remaining matches to progress to the Finals.

In Pool C, Serbia and Montenegro head to Shanghai in China knowing one win will secure them a spot in the Final Round. With seven wins already from eight matches, the 2000 Olympic champions will extinguish any hope China, who are in third place with three wins, have of finishing top of the group. Both matches are at 08:00 GMT on Saturday and Sunday.

This weekend’s action begins on Friday with a crunch Pool B match between Bulgaria and Poland in Varna at 15:00 GMT. Having played eight games so far in the Intercontinental Round both teams, with five wins and six wins respectively, are chasing the Final Round spot which is awarded to the pool winner. Their second match is on Saturday at 17:30 GMT.

Pool B is the tightest of the three pools with one win separating Poland, Bulgaria and France. The Tricolors, who have five wins to their name, play Japan in Tokyo starting on Saturday at 06:00 GMT and Sunday at 05:00 GMT.

In other action, Greece, who have four victories, travel to Portugal looking for two 3-0 wins to keep in touch with Brazil in Pool A. The first of the two matches in Porto is at 16:00 GMT on Saturday and the second at 16:00 GMT on Sunday. Greece beat Portugal 3-0, 3-1 in Week 2.

And in Pool C, Italy play Cuba in Havana on Saturday and Sunday at 00:40 GMT looking to improve their record of five victories and three defeats.

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.