Lausanne, Switzerland, June 10, 2014 – After
the gripping third week of action unfolded at the FIVB Volleyball World League,
all 28 top class teams were showcased at the FIVB’s premier annual men’s
tournament where Italy, Serbia USA, France, Cuba and China completed the week with
unscathed win-loss records.
In Pool A, Brazil got a shock in their straight sets loss at the hands of Asian powerhouse Iran on Saturday. This is the first time in more than 20 years, since July 1993, that Brazil lost a match against an Asian opposition. The Iranians pulled off a scare against the Brazilians in their first encounter on June 6. Iran almost touched the finish line in the tiebreaker, only to be denied last minute by the heroic two-point save by Brazilian opposite Leandro Vissotto.
Italy remained as the leaders in Pool A after their two-match victories over Poland. The Italians have now won seven consecutive World League matches for the first time in 12 years, when they won nine in a row in 2002. Ivan Zaytsev likewise remained as their most prolific scorer recording 24 points and 18 points, respectively, in their matches with Poland.
USA used home court advantage to overcome defending champions Russia on their two encounters in Pool B For the first time in 14 years since 2000, the United States have started off their World League campaign with four straight victories, while Russia had the opposite result of a losing start of four defeats for the first time in 17 years.
Serbia capped the third week on top of Pool B with a two-match rampage on the Bulgarians in Sofia. The home team suffered a skid, losing their first four matches in the World League for the first time in their 17 stints.
The teams in Pool C drew their matches but have raised the status of Belgium which assumed pool leadership ahead of Canada. Belgium successfully started the World League winning at least two sets in all their four World League matches so far, making them the first debutants to achieve this feat since Cuba in 1991. Canada, on the other hand, started off their season campaign with three wins, only to be beaten by the Belgians in their second meeting. The Canadians achieved this feat for the second time, following their achievement in the 2000 season.
In the other Pool C showcase, Australia finally broke through the winning column after 14 attempts with their 3-2 victory over Finland on June 7, while Finland recovered on June 8 in another five-setter. Prior to the victory, for their third time in 10 participations, Finland lost in their first three World League matches.
Argentina are gaining momentum with their two victories against Japan, which have lost each of their first six matches this season. The Argentines have unseated the Germans to claim second place in the pool standings. The Germans who drew with Argentina on the second week, slipped on the third week in the hands of Pool D leaders France. The French earned their longest winning streak ever in the World League with nine successive wins.
All four matches in Pool E were played in five sets. Czech Republic claimed two victories, while Netherland and Portugal drew their matches.
Czech Republic won both home matches in one World League weekend for the first time. The last time they achieved this feat was in June 2003, with a double 3-0 victory against Japan. With their double 3-2 victory against Korea in the same weekend, Czech Republic achieved this feat only twice in their 19 matches before this weekend.
In their latest match, the Netherlands have now failed to win both home matches in one World league weekend in each of the last three times. Portugal have now won twice in five-setters in the Netherlands, following their victory last year.
Cuba and China concluded the opening week of the third group with top finishes in Pool F and Pool G, respectively.
Cuba finished on top with their three consecutive wins, improving their record in their last 10 World League matches where they won only one match. Cuba are joined by three newcomers – Mexico, Turkey and Tunisia. Mexico won their debut match on June 6, while Turkey claimed their maiden victory on June 8. Tunisia were left seeking their first World League victory.
In Pool F, China ended their five-match losing streak in the World League and made amends by winning three in a row in the competition for the first time since 2007, when they posted four successive victories. Debutants Slovakia won their debut match in the World League 3-1 against Spain on June 6, while Spain snapped a nine-match losing streak in the World League after their 3-2 defeat of Puerto Rico on June 8.
The intense competition in World League will continue on the fourth week from June 13 to 15.
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