FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Canada set to face Portugal this weekend

Glenn Hoag of Team Canada watches his players at practice yesterday before their World League matches against Portugal at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Mississauga, Canada, June 7, 2013 - Canada's second host weekend of World League Volleyball action begins tomorrow at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

After coming off last weekend with one win and one loss to the Dutch team in Quebec City, the Canadian men’s team is anxious to face the smaller, but experienced, Portugal at 19:00 on Friday, June 7, and then again at the same time on Saturday, June 8.

"We're looking forward to this series - we want to keep getting better and we need these matches to do that," Canada's coach Glenn Hoag said at yesterday’s practice session.  "We are still competing for first position in this pool, so every match is important. The team is ready - we've looked at some video from last week.  Portugal is a completely different system of play - a little quicker - so we have to be more aware and not as physical as with Holland."

The Canadian players are eager to move forward after last Saturday's loss (25-22, 25-17, 20-25, 25-23) to The Netherlands.

"I know everyone's really excited to be here and really excited to play. We got a little bit of the jitters out last weekend. Portugal is going to come to compete, and all these games are so important to us," said top Canadian scorer Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon, Sask. "I'm sure there are going to be a lot of great fans here. We play overseas a lot, but playing in front of your own fans, in your own country, is a miraculous feeling.”

World League is structured in three pools of six for the intercontinental round. Canada (WR18) is in Pool C with Korea (WR24), Finland (WR30), the Netherlands (WR41), Portugal (WR36) and Japan (WR19).

Flavio Gulinelli, Portugal’s coach, is also looking forward to the experience of World League games this weekend.  “We've been watching the Canadian team closely, against Turkey and the Netherlands, but I am expecting Glenn (Hoag) to play differently this weekend. We recognise that the Canadian team has improved a lot in the last few years and I have a lot of respect for them,” he said today at the Hershey Centre practice session. “I think for this group the difference will be in the home matches and away matches. It's difficult to know how things will turn out.”

Portugal made its first appearance in the World League in 1999, achieving its best result ever in the 2005 when the country finished in fifth place. Gulinelli has been Portugal’s national team coach since 2012.

"Portugal presents a very different opponent compared to the Dutch from last week - they are a bit smaller, but equally as skilled," said Canadian middle Adam Simac of Ottawa, Ont. "And it's going to test another aspect of our game, but we've had a good week of practice and the coaches have prepared us well - now it's a matter of going out there and playing our game."

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