FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Year in review: Second World League triumph for USA

Lausanne, Switzerland, January 1, 2015 – The FIVB Volleyball World League provided thrills and spills across nine weeks of exciting action, celebrating the global impact of volleyball and the ever-growing passion for the sport.

USA surprised many to win the 25th edition of the tournament in Florence on July 20, adding a second gold medal to their tally. It was the first time they had won since 2008 and made up for their disappointment two years earlier when they lost out to Poland in the final.

Lee hails 'unbelievable' team after USA scoop gold medal

They were spearheaded by Taylor Sander who marked an impressive debut in the competition to take the MVP award in a dominant display which included 24 points in the final. The Californian youngster also took home the Best Outside Hitter accolade and looks set to become one of volleyball’s brightest stars.


But the real winner was volleyball itself. The new competition formula, with a record 28 teams contesting 162 matches around the world over the course of nine weeks, saw halls packed like never before and took the sport to a new level.

There was competition to reach the finals right until the last few plays of the preliminary round also. Coming into the final weekend seven of the eight Group 1 teams could have booked a ticket to Florence but in the end, Bulgaria, Poland and Serbia all missed out in a tight race.

It was a disappointing end to the finals for Brazil despite the fact their silver medal was a record-breaking 18th podium finish for the side. They have now been losing finalists in three of the last four editions. 

“The USA were able to control the game. It was a lesson for us and we are frustrated, but congratulations to them,” said Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende.

The Final Round in Florence provided emphatic evidence of just how close the competition is between the top volleyball teams in the world. No team came through the event at the Nelson Mandela Auditorium undefeated.

Talking Stats: USA join World League’s multiple gold medal club; Italy win back-to-back bronze

Newcomers Iran ended their final round in an impressive fourth place, having defeated Brazil in the preliminary round. “It is the best Iran has ever done at the World League. We came ninth last year in our first ever World League and now we have made the bronze medal match. That's very good for us. Maybe next year we can have a go at making it on to the podium,” said Iran's libero, Farh Zarif.

Former Italian star Andrea Zorzi said that the home side “have been improving every year recently, but they have never quite done enough to get the gold.” And the hosts were made to wait even longer having come away with a disappointing bronze – after all, the eight-time World League winners had their sights set on a first triumph for 14 years. 

Australia joined the heavy hitters of Group 1 after stunning everyone to take the Group 2 title. They had finished bottom of Pool C having won five games from 12 and only qualified for the finals as hosts. But they delivered a shock blow to France, who had lost just two games coming into the Group 2 final, beating them in five pulsating sets.
Cuba ensured promotion to Group 2 as they topped Group 3. It was a monumental task for the Caribbean side however and they needed all five sets in their semifinal against China and final against hosts Turkey to take the crown.

The spectacular format that was introduced for the 2014 edition will be maintained next year with the number of teams also increasing to a record 32 demonstrating the continued spread of the game. Next year’s World League will run from May 16 – July 19.

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