Mar del Plata, Argentina, July 17, 2013 – With less than 24 hours before the start of the FIVB Volleyball World League Finals 2013, volleyball legend Andrea Zorzi runs through the contenders for the premier annual volleyball trophy for men.
“The opening match between Brazil and Russia is set to be brilliant. This is
not the first time the two countries have met and no doubt Brazil will be working
hard to ensure that they do not have a repeat of the 2012 Olympic Games final
“But this time Brazil won’t lose. If anything, their loss to Russia in London last year seems to have spurred them on and they are now on a mission for gold at the World League and in Rio in 2016.
“For this week, the odds are stacked in Brazil’s favour. Russia’s Muserskiy may have turned around the Olympic final for his country but he doesn’t have the same influence this time around especially as there have been many changes to the Russian team.
“Nevertheless, the Olympic champions still have enough class to cope well with the challenge. Russia currently has a lot of players, who are not well known, but who are technically and physically very good. They are like a machine and the inexperienced players can rely on the depth of play from some of the more experienced players on the team.
“With regards to the other finalists, I am pleased to say that it’s a new era for Italy who have made their way back to the top after many years. A bronze medal in London was a great achievement. They have some good players and are playing a good game with a better attitude. However, there is room for improvement and the team needs to work on their consistency and strengthen their mental prowess.
“Brazil has been the leader in this sport for the past 15 years because in training all 12 players and their coach are focused on the job at hand. This is the secret of winning and the Italian team need to concentrate. I hope their loss to Iran during the intercontinental round will help the Italian team to regroup and find the motivation they need to take them far in the World League Finals.
“Bulgaria surprised me last year and again this year. They have earned their place in the Finals and coach Placi is going a great job. However, they still have a long way to go and I hope that by learning from experiences in the World League so far that they will be encouraged to get better.
“Argentina is currently missing some important players like Facundo Conte and for this reason I am not sure if they will be very competitive in the Finals.
for the Finals was a big surprise for the volleyball community and also for
them and no doubt a disappointment for the Netherlands who were leading the
pool until recently.
“I like the way Glenn Hoag coaches the Canadian team and his players have produced some good volleyball. He knows how to exploit their potential to the maximum and has shown his ability to coach well in France. Canada produced some top class players during the 80s like Stelio DeRocco and John Barrett (one of the first jump servers in the game) and it is good to see the country making a comeback.
“I had the opportunity to watch the Intercontinental Round action closely and have to say that Iran played superbly. It is a pleasure to see my former coach Julio Velasco doing so well. His assistant Manuel Cicchello is from Mar del Plata and together they have been able to build an excellent rapport with the players.
“The Iranian players have a clear idea of how they have to play, have a great attitude and fight for each point until the very end - qualities that Velasco instilled in the Italian team all those years ago. Time will tell if Iran can show the same level of skill over the long term.
“This year is the first of a new Olympic cycle and as many coaches have decided to introduce younger players to their teams, the level of play is not so high. The difference between the teams that got the good results and those that did not is focus. That is why Iran and Canada did so well this year.
“Indeed a strong team needs to show consistency and for this to happen every rally must be important. As defending champions, Poland started with too much confidence, losing their first four matches and consequently did not have time to recover. They had a slim chance of getting into the Finals in their last two games against Bulgaria but failed to go for every single set. It was a disappointing finish to their World League run but they have the unconditional backing of the Polish fans who are willing them to go far in the European Championships.
“All will be revealed in a few hours and I know that whatever happens, we will be in for a treat.”
Andrea Zorzi is a former Italian volleyball star who won two FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship crowns in 1990 and 1994 as well as three World League titles from 1990-1992 where he also won the Most Valuable Player award at both the 1990 and 1991 editions. He was also a silver medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and won the 1989 European Championship in a career which spanned 325 matches. After retiring in 1998, he collaborated with a number of important Italian TV networks as well as international newspapers as a journalist.
Other FIVB Blogs
Sandra Pires: “Experience, technique and solid team play - still viable in the long run”
Sara Goller: Goller backs Chen Xue and Zhang Xi for World Champs goldSinjin Smith: Sinjin Smith: Beach Volleyball undergoing a changing of the guardNikola Grbic: “Serbia will play even better in the coming weeks” – GrbicGustavo Endres: Brazil on track to win World League title – GustavoTom Hoff: “If there’s anyone who can do it, it’s John Speraw” - HoffAndrea Zorzi: Teams must 'give their all at every opportunity’ says Zorzi
Martin Laciga: ‘It was a result which I for one was not expecting to see’ – Martin LacigaNatalie Cook: Bring on the World Cup – Nat Cook
Sinjin Smith: Sinjin Smith: 'There’s a lot of excitement this season'
Andrea Zorzi: Russia capable of dominating the volleyball world over the next few years Tom Hoff: Change is difficult, but also necessary
Andrea Zorzi: Italy, Poland, Russia & Brazil picks for World League – Zorzi
Martin Laciga: Expect a Fuzhou-repeat in Shanghai
Natalie Cook: Natalie Cook pleased with “A great start to the new season”
Sandra Pires: “2013 can be anyone’s year” says Sandra Pires
Virna Dias: Virna predicts another great year for Olympic champs BrazilAndrea Zorzi: Andrea Zorzi looks forward to this year’s World League action
Stacy Sykora: Women’s volleyball looking forward to bumper year
Natalie Cook: Keep an eye on the Chinese in 2013
Hugh McCutcheon: Feeling good about US women’s coach
Martin Laciga: It's time to pass the ball to younger players
Tom Hoff: This is volleyball, and anything can happen
VolleyWorld relives the action of the 2013 FIVB World League
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 8, 2013 – After six weeks of intense volleyball action during the Intercontinental Round of the 2013 FIVB World League, ... More...
The start of an era
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 23, 2013 - As the excitement of the World League Finals winds down, Andrea Zorzi takes a look back at the action and why h... More...
Canada jumps in rankings after World League performance
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 22, 2013 – The Canadian men’s national team’s exceptional performance in the 2013 FIVB World League has resulted in a seve... More...
Every point was made of gold - Spiridonov
Mar del Plata, Argentina, July 21, 2013 - Alexey Spiridinov says 'every point was made of gold' as Russia overwhelmed Brazil 3-0 in the final match of... More...
We were surprised by Vettori - Sokolov
Mar del Plata, Argentina, July 21, 2013 - Tsvetan Sokolov says the unexpected appearance of young Italian wing spiker Luca Vettori was the difference ... More...
Young Vettori makes a point as Italy win bronze
Mar del Plata, Argentina, July 21, 2013 - Young Italian star Luca Vettori led Italy to their first World League medal since 2004 with a 3-2 win agains... More...
Russia become three-time World League champions
Mar del Plata, Argentina, July 21, 2013 – Olympic champions Russia became the third country after Brazil and Italy to win three or more World League t... More...
Russia beat Brazil in straight sets to claim third World League title
Mar del Plata, Argentina, July 21, 2013 – The Olympic champions and world No. 2 Russia defeated Brazil 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-19) to claim their third ... More...
Same Olympic matches, different World League teams
Mar del Plata, Argentina, July 21, 2013 - The medal deciders at the 2013 World League Finals are exactly the same as last year's matches at the 2012 O... More...
Vettori leads Italy to bronze on Finals debut
Mar del Plata, Argentina, July 21, 2013 – World No 3 Italy repeated their London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medal result by beating Bulgaria 3-2 (21-25... More...