Team Profile

POR/Portugal
















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After finishing bottom of the table in the last four World League competitions and a failure in qualifying for the Olympic Games, Portugal are hoping a new coach will be able inspire them to bigger and brighter things.

Cubaís Gladston Orlando Samuels Blackwood succeeded fellow national Juan Diaz early in 2005 with his main objective to see Portugal succeed in the Senior European Championship, the 2006 World Championships as well as the World League.

"I know that Portuguese Volleyball is nowadays much stronger than I experienced at the World Championships in Argentina", revealed Samuels. "I know that they are an ambitious young team and I will try to do my best this year in order to perform well at the European Championship Finals, the early rounds of the 2006 World Championship as well as the World League."

Samuels was coach of the Cuban menís team from 1985 to 1994, taking them to victory at the World Cup in 1989 and the Pan-American Games, as well as becoming two-time vice world champion. And Portugal is not new to the 58-year-old given that he worked with the national menís junior team in the season of 1997/98.

It is this valuable experience that many Portuguese fans will be hoping can lead their national team up the World League ladder, but it will be a mammoth task considering Portugal will play in Pool A, together with Brazil, Venezuela and Japan.

Currently ranked 18th in the world, Portugal collected three victories from 12 matches in last yearís competition but will be hoping to improve on that record particularly considering when the likes of star player Joao Jose now has the support of some of the younger players - Carlos Teixeira and Hugo Gaspar Ė who have that extra year of experience.

There would be nothing better than to see Portugal break their World League duck, which has seen them finish last in all five of their attempts, especially when taking into account Portugalís rich history in the sport.

Portugal was one of the FIVB 14 founding countries in 1947 and just one year later the national team participated in the first European Championship in Italy and placed fourth.

In 1956, Portugal took part in a World Championship for the first time and finished 15th among 24 teams in that tournament held in France. But for another success at the international level Portugal was forced to hold out until the turn of the century when Cuba's legendary coach Juan Diaz was appointed to take in hand and shape a next generation of players.

Diaz, highly regarded and who was named by the FIVB as one of the 10 best coaches of the 20th Century, began to work hard to build a team whose performance would match the world elite. Under his command, Portugal qualified for the World Championship held in 2002 in Argentina for only the second time. The young and talented side performed very well throughout the tournament, achieving a surprising eighth place, and stamped themselves as one of the world's emerging teams. With some players as young as 17-years-old, they could have barely achieved more, but their 24-year-old Joao went on to be awarded the best blocker of the competition.

Portugal took part for the first time in the prestigious World League in 1999. As a clear underdog they delivered a shock by beating powerhouse Cuba and also playing well against Argentina and France. Their debut was an unexpected but pleasant surprise for the world of Volleyball and managed to turn heads of expert observers. They returned to the competition in the 2002, 2003 and 2004 editions, proving that their continued work on their game is paying dividends.


Overall Standings for Portugal
World League Played Total Matches played Win Lost % Wins
5 60 13 47 21.7