Lausanne, Switzerland, June 12, 2014 – The
fourth week of the Intercontinental Round of the FIVB World League will be
unveiled starting June 13 as the teams intensify their bids midway to the Final
Round of the premier men’s annual event.
Pool A action start in Tehran as Brazil and Iran continue with their head-to-head battle. Last week, the two teams met for the first time in the World League where Brazil won the first match in five sets, while Iran stunned Brazil on the second match in straight sets. Iran are expecting big numbers from attacker Shahram Mahmoudi, who top scored for the Iranian side with 22 points in both matches. Brazil, on the other hand, will try to elude another setback, this time away from home. Brazil can equal their worst World League start since 1991, if they lose two more matches against Iran this week.
Poland and Italy will carry on with their Pool A matchup this week in the Polish city of Katowice. With the home court advantage, Poland are seeking to improve their World League campaign since winning their first and only World League title in 2012. Poland have already lost nine of their 14 matches in the competition. This season, Italy boast an impressive season debut with six consecutive wins, dropping only four sets. Their best record stems from 1992 when they lost three sets in eight matches, and their second best were in the 1996 and 1997 season when they lost only five sets in seven matches.
USA and Serbia are relishing their winning streaks but two meetings this week will possibly stain their win-loss records in Pool B. In this race, should USA win their matches against Serbia, they can kick off with six consecutive wins against a European opposition since 2008. Although Serbia have never won their first six matches in any World League season, they can still possibly win their first five since 2010 and create a new record with the sixth win.
While USA and Serbia are on a winning streak, Bulgaria and Russia are still seeking their first victory in the World League this season. Russia have won six of their last seven World League matches against Bulgaria and will have the home turf edge as they play in Surgut. Bulgaria kicked off their World League campaign with four defeats, which marks their worst start to a World League season, completely contrasting their start last year with four wins.
The only two World League encounters from Belgium and Canada came last week with both teams winning one match each in Pool C. Belgium have won three out of four matches in the World League so far and their only loss was against Canada in a five-setter in Liege. Both teams were off to a good start as Canada have won 10 of their last 12 matches in the World league, while Belgium have won already three on their debut, ranking with the most sets with 11 and highest winning ratio of 75 per cent of all the debutants this season.
Finland and Australia are meeting for the second weekend in a row after drawing 3-2 on their matches on the third week in Canberra. With the 3-2 win against Finland, Australia earned their first ever win in the World League.
In the last four World League seasons, Germany have finished higher than France, now the latter sit on top of Pool D with a six-match winning streak. France have won both previous matches against Germany in the World League, which is a good indication that the Frenchmen are still on track to extend their winning streak – their longest streak was nine matches.
Argentina hold an unbeaten status against Japan, which is their only 100 per cent winning record against any team in the World League. Argentina have won three of their last 17 World League matches and all these wins were clinched in Pool D this season, sounding off that Julio Velasco’s guidance is starting to do wonders for the Argentine squad.
In the most intense pool in the third week, where all matches were played in five thrilling sets in Pool E, Czech Republic were the only team to win both matches. The Czech team will meet Netherlands for the first time in the competition. In the meantime, the Dutch team will bank on their success record in away matches, as they have won four of their last five in the World League, only losing to Finland last year.
Portugal and Korea will meet for the third and fourth time. Korea scored double victories against Portugal in their previous encounters and will try to use this edge to fuel their home stints this week in Ulsan.
In Pool F, Tunisia will play the set of round robin matches at home and start off against Turkey. The Tunisians will attempt to gain their first win in the World League after their poor debut last week. Mexico and Cuba will square off on the same day. Cuba clocked the shortest match duration of 1 hour and 20 minutes against Mexico last week and will try to power through to earn a sure spot in the Final Four.
Slovakian city Kosice hosts the Pool G matches where the host team will play Puerto Rico, China and Spain. Slovakia and Puerto Rico will start the order of matches. Both teams won their first match in their World League history last week. In other matches, China had a rousing start of three consecutive wins which will help them secure participation in the Final Four if they continue with their promising performance.
Week 4 World League statistical preview
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