Porto, Portugal, July 4, 2013 – Portugal is vying to defend its third place standing in Pool C against Korea this weekend in order to avoid playing in the 2014 World League playoffs. The first match with Korea is scheduled for Saturday at 19h00 at the Multiusos de Guimarães, the 2013 European City of Sport.
In past years, Korea has been trying to recover some of the prestige that they had in the 70’s and 80’s with its fourth place finish in the 1978 World Championships and fifth place at the 1984 Olympic Games.
The 24th edition of the FIVB Volleyball World League promises to be a crucial moment for the Korean team as Ki-Won Park’s team debuted with two victories against Japan, taking six points. Since then Korea has only added another point in its 2-3 defeat at home against Finland.
Now, with only seven points they have a mathematical
chance to reach third place and escape the playoffs.
“We came to win,” says Ki-Won Park. “We are aware that it won’t be easy, since the Portuguese team as grown a lot since the last year. They are physically and tactically very strong,” said Korea’s coach.
Korea’s last obstacle is to win against Portugal. Currently in third place, but without a chance to reach either the first or second place, Flavio Gulinelli’s team will do their best to defend their position in the ranking. They will also be looking to play hard for their local fans at the Multiusos de Guimarães and achieve victory for them.
“The team is
in a better position that Korea, Japan or even Finland,” said Hugo Silva. “It
will be two very important matches that we will play at home and also the last
of this year’s edition. This is what’s in everybody’s mind it’s the last effort
we are going to do to get a good result. I believe that all the conditions are
gathered for us to secure the third place, which would be a very positive
“We’ll always have a bitter taste, since we have the feeling that we could have done a bit more in one match or another, “ said Portugal’s assistant coach. “We were not consistent enough. Very good matches were followed by some bad matches. I believe that a little more consistency from our team would eventually had allowed us to play the final phase and that would have been historic for us.”
Portugal’s player Andre Lopes admits that “Korea has a completely different game style from all the other teams of the group. They make use of many offensive combinations that aren’t normally used in “modern” volleyball and that may surprise any team”. Nevertheless Andre bets on victory as “it’s always good to play at home.” “The past weekend against Japan the public were fantastic and this weekend against Korea it will not be different. We count upon the support of all the Portuguese to end this participation in the World League in the best possible way,” said Lopes.
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