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Press release

Portugal’s path to World League 2013 runs through Rotterdam

Portugal coach Flavio Gulinelli recognises that the Netherlands will be a tough opponent, but is convinced his team is ready for them

Porto, Portugal, August 30, 2012 - Portugal’s men’s team, guided by Italian coach Flavio Gulinelli, will face a major challenge this weekend: the playoff qualification for World League 2013.

Two games are scheduled on September 1 and 2 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Dutch team defeated the Dominican Republic in their first two playoff games, August 24 and 25, to become the challengers for Portugal’s spot in the next edition of the World League.

Gulinelli recognizes that the Netherlands will be a difficult opponent.

"They have a very strong squad,” said Gulinelli. “They have key veteran players, such as Kooistra and Bontje, whom I know very well because they played in Italy for a long time. Then there are players like Rauwerdink, and a promising young star, Abdelaziz, just 20 years and over 2 metres tall.

“The Dutch have a very strong service because all their players have the characteristics and physical abilities to be successful servers. To deal with this situation, our receiving game has to be at its best.”

Gulinelli said the way the national team has responded to preparations for the important games ahead has been encouraging.

“The way the team has been going so far has been positive – even more than I expected at the beginning of the work. The friendlies we played with the Czech Republic, in Vila do Conde, and then the matches we played in Slovenia were important in the growth of our game system. Playing away from home is never easy, but we're going to Holland with the chance to be at our best. I will not talk about results, but this playoff will be a difficult test for us and for the Netherlands.”

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