Lausanne, Switzerland, February 25, 2014 – A dream fixture between the two most successful teams in World League history, Brazil and Italy, will open the FIVB Volleyball World League 2014 on May 23 following the confirmation by the FIVB of the timings and venues of the Intercontinental Round matches on Tuesday.
Nine time champions Brazil will host Italy, who have won the annual men’s tournament eight times, in Arena Jaragua in Jaragua Do Sul at 17:35 (all times GMT) followed by their second Pool A match one day later on May 24 at 13:00 in the same venue. Olympic silver medallists and world No. 1, Brazil last won the World League in 2010 however lost to Russia in the 2011 and 2013 finals. World No. 3 Italy, meanwhile, last tasted World League success in 2000 but last year’s bronze medal finish was their first World League podium since 2004 when they claimed silver, behind Brazil.
The dream opening match of the competition is followed on the same day by a Pool C encounter between World League debutants Belgium, ranked 37th, and world No. 14 Australia, who finished 10th in their only previous World League appearance in 1999, at 17:50 in Kortrijk. The third and final match on the opening day (Friday) sees world No. 10 Germany play Japan, ranked 17th in the world, at 18:00 in Bamberg.
The opening weekend of the Intercontinental Round will feature 10 matches in total across pools A, B, C and D taking place in Brazil, Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria and Argentina.
Brazil also open week two with another crunch encounter against FIVB Volleyball World Championship Poland 2014 hosts and 2012 World League winners Poland, ranked fifth in the world, on Thursday, May 29 at 17:35 in Ginasio Chico Neto in Maringa followed by their second match 24 hours later.
FIVB Volleyball World League Intercontinental Round Schedule by Pool
World League title holders and defending Olympic champions Russia have to wait until week two of the Intercontinental Round to begin their bid for a fourth World League gold and third in four years when the world No. 2 takes on Serbia, ranked ninth in the world, in a Pool B match on Serbian soil in Nis on May 30. There will be 16 matches played in week two of the Intercontinental Round in eight countries: Brazil, France, Serbia, Italy, Korea, Portugal, Argentina and Canada.
Weeks three and four of the Intercontinental Round will see the most number of matches – 32 in total – played with the pace of activity diminishing gradually in weeks five (20 matches), six (18 matches) and seven (16 matches).
During the Intercontinental Round, Group 1 (Pools A & B) and Group 2 (Pools C, D and E) play double home and away matches - two matches each weekend – while Group 3 (Pools F and G) play Round Robin tournaments (two matches per day over three days).
Group 1 will hold a Final – featuring the top two teams in each pool (A & B), the hosts and the winner from the Final from Group 2 – the week of July 16 to 20.
Group 2 will hold a Final Four on the weekend of July 11 to 13 (dates to be confirmed).
Group 3 will hold a Final Four expected to take place on June 27 to 29. The host country, the two winners from each pool and the second best team overall will qualify.
The last ranked team of Group 1 after the Intercontinental Round could be relegated if the winner of the Group 2 Final can meet the promotion requirements set by the FIVB.
Pool A features Brazil, Italy, Poland and the rapidly improving Iran. In Pool B are defending champions Russia, 2012 silver medallists USA, last year’s fourth-placed team Bulgaria and four-time runner’s up Serbia.
Pool C features debutants Belgium along with Canada, Australia and Finland while Argentina, Germany, France and Japan are in Pool D. Pool E features the Netherlands, Korea, the Czech Republic – who return to the World League after making their only previous appearance in 2003 – and Portugal.
Last year’s 13th place finishers Cuba are joined in Pool F by World League debutants Tunisia, Turkey and Mexico while Pool G sees Puerto Rico return after making their only appearance in 2011. China and Spain return after last appearing in 2010 and 2008 respectively while Slovakia will make their World League debut.
The FIVB’s premier annual men’s volleyball event has expanded from 18 countries to 28 for the first time ever in its 24-year history. The World League featured 16 teams from 2001-2003 and 2006-2012, eight teams in its inaugural year in 1990, 10 in 1991 and then 12 from 1992-2000 and 2004-05.
Russia became the third country after Brazil and Italy to win three or more World League titles after an impressive 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-19) win over nine-time winners Brazil in the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World League final in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
Year in review: Second World League triumph for USA
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 18, 2014 – The FIVB Volleyball World League provided thrills and spills across nine weeks of exciting action, celebrat... More...
World League's top four USA, Brazil, Italy and Iran contribute to Dream Team
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 24, 2014 – USA outside hitter Taylor Sander topped the statistical charts to receive the highest individual honour in the ... More...
Andrea Zorzi: Speed is at the heart of modern volleyball
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 22, 2014 - After the end of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World League, former Italian champion Andrea Zorzi talked about the d... More...
World League performances reshuffle world ranking
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 22, 2014 – The 2014 FIVB Volleyball World League has resulted in a reshuffle of the senior men’s world ranking, with Serbi... More...
Talking Stats: USA join World League’s multiple gold medal club; Italy win back-to-back bronze
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 20, 2014 – USA secured their second gold medal in the competition and became the fourth nation to earn multiple gold medal... More...
USA upset Brazil to claim second World League title
Florence, Italy, July 20, 2014 – USA, ranked fourth in the world, beat world No. 1 Brazil in four outstanding sets 3-1 (31-29, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23) to... More...
Lee hails 'unbelievable' team after USA scoop gold medal
Florence, Italy, July 20, 2014 - USA's players hailed an "unbelievable" 3-1 win (31-29, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23) over world no.1 ranked Brazil in the Worl... More...
Dynamic USA power past Brazil to grab World League gold
Florence, Italy, July 20, 2014 – USA stunned Brazil 3-1 (31-29, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23) to claim the gold medal at the FIVB World League Finals in Floren... More...
We will go for gold soon, says Italy's Travica
Florence, Italy, July 20, 2014 – Italian setter Dragan Travica said that Italy can win a future tournament soon, after they claimed the bronze medal i... More...
Italy claim second consecutive World League Finals bronze
Florence, Italy, July 20, 2014 - Italy claimed the bronze medal of the 2014 FIVB World League Finals, beating Iran 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-22) in a sold... More...