Lausanne, Switzerland, June 5, 2014 – The FIVB
Volleyball World League is in full swing after two weeks of intense matches as
the third group of teams in Pool G and F are set to open their campaigns from
June 6 to 8.
Brazil will play on their third consecutive week at the World League against Iran in Pool A. The two teams have never met and will race to avoid any further skid in their World League campaigns. Brazil have already lost three matches in the Intercontinental round in the hands of Italy and Poland, while Iran have lost two matches also in the hands of Italy.
Coming off from their four consecutive victories since the opening week, Italy seek to extend their streak against Poland in the other Pool A match. Out of their six previous encounters, Italy have the edge with five wins against one of Poland. The Italians’ mettle will be tested by Poland as the former have not won six consecutive matches in the World League since they started the 2011 season. Poland, on the other hand, have lost seven of their 12 matches since winning their first and only title in 2012.
In the Pool B showcase, the two slated matchups are between the teams with a 2-0 and a 0-2 win-loss cards. In Long Beach, USA aim to continue their two-match winning streak and improve their record against the Russians. Since 1994, USA have recorded only one World League victory over Russia in eight meetings. Defending champions Russia started their season with two defeats against Serbia and will try to elude a third straight loss which they have done since 1997.
Bulgaria will get the chance to redeem themselves at home as they host Serbia in Sofia. The Bulgarians will take on Serbia carrying a positive record of winning the last three Intercontinental Round matches against the former, since a 3-2 defeat in May 2003. Serbia have won their opening two matches of the World League and can win their first three matches for the first time since 2010, when they won their first five Intercontinental Round matches.
Belgium and Canada will be facing each other for the first time in the World League. Belgium will be entering their second week in the World League with two victories against Australia while Canada are also unbeaten with two victories. As the losing teams in Pool C, Australia and Finland will vie for their first win in this League season. The two teams will meet for the first time in the competition.
Argentina and Japan will clash in their Pool D matches, the former have the advantage over the latter with four victories in their four meetings in the World League. Argentina will rely on Facundo Conte’s scoring proficiency, who capped the two weeks as the third best overall scorer in Group 2. Last week, Japan lost in straight sets against France, their 100th straight-set defeat in World League history but will try to bank on their three prolific scorers who are in the top 5 of Group 2 scorers list.
As the leader in Pool D, France are looking to extend their winning streak further when they face Germany for the first time in the World League. Germany are in second position in the pool and will attempt to break away in pool standings over the unbeaten French team.
After scoring a 1-1 season debut last week in Pool E, Czech Republic and Japan are facing each other for the first time in the World League. The other Asian opposition that Czech Republic played in the World League were Japan, which they dominated in all four occasions. The first match against Korea will be Czech Republic's 20th in the World League. If they win, they have won 12 of their first 20 World League matches, a feat only seven other nations have achieved. Korea will certainly refuse to go easily as they have won three of their last four World League matches, only losing against Netherlands in this run. They have also won three of their last four away matches in the World League.
Netherlands and Portugal in the other Pool E showcase on their third and fourth World League meeting where their previous meetings last season ended in a draw. Netherlands have failed to win both home matches in one World League weekend in each of the last two times against Portugal in June 2013 and Korea last week. Portugal have played their last six matches at home and will play an away match for the first time since facing Netherlands in June last year.
Teams in the third group will make their season debut in matches in Pools F and G on a Round Robin format.
Three teams – Turkey, Mexico and Tunisia – will make their World League debut in Pool F. On the world ranking, Tunisia (13th) are the highest-ranked nation of the three debutants, Turkey are 45th and Mexico 22nd.
In Pool F, Cuba will meet Turkey for the first time ever in a main international competition while Mexico and Tunisia will each host a match this week and next week in Mexico City and Tunis, respectively.
In Pool G, Spain are back in the World League after a five-season absence to set another meeting with Slovakia. The last meeting between these teams took place in 2009, when Spain won a five-setter at the European Championship. China, on the other hand, will return to the World League after a three-year absence, to face Puerto Rico.
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