Lausanne, Switzerland, June 18, 2014 - Pool leaders Italy and France, who earned unbeaten records in the first three weeks, suffered defeats in the fourth week of the Intercontinental Round of the FIVB Volleyball World League, while USA stayed unbeaten in the tournament.
Italy suffered their first two defeats in
the season after a strong start with a 6-0 record. The Italians dropped their
two matches against hosts Poland but remained the Pool A leaders.
In the first match, Poland utilised their solid defence at the net to destabilise the usually strong Italian attackers. Karol Klos led Poland with six block points – more than the Italian team’s block output of five – in their four-setter triumph on Saturday. Poland have now improved their record against the Italians after winning their second and third victories out of their 10 meetings in the World League.
In Pool D, Germany handed France with its first defeat on their home turf Rouen. This ended the nine-match winning streak of France in the World League. Two days later, France struck back with a straight sets win over Germany – their fifth straight-sets-win in eight matches this season.
Meanwhile, USA and Serbia entered the fourth week without any losses in Pool B but USA proved to be the better team in Chicago as they sustained their winning streak with their straight-set and five-setter wins over Serbia. USA doubled their total number of World League wins against Serbia in just two days. But the Serbians still lead them in terms of their head-to-head results in the World League where they have six wins and the Americans with four.
In the other Pool A match, Iran and Brazil got one match each in Tehran. Iran claimed the first match in five sets while Brazil took the second in four sets. Brazil are now the second team that Iran have beaten multiple times in the World League. Iranian hitter Shahram Mahmoudi scored 25 points on their second match in a losing effort, equalling the errors made by the Brazilian squad.
Russia finally posted double 3-0 victories in Pool B against Bulgaria. The defending champions ended a losing streak in four consecutive World League matches. Bulgaria, on the other hand, are in deeper trouble having lost their last nine World League matches – their longest losing streak in the World League.
Canada beat Belgium in straight sets in the first match but the Belgians retaliated with a 3-1 victory in the second match in Pool C. Their only two prior World League meetings happened last week where Canada also took the first win before Belgium claimed the second.
Australia took its second victory in the World League with a more impressive performance in the four-set match against Finland. The Australians got their first triumph on foreign soil. Finland then came back to win the next match 3-1 and missed out on a chance to win their first back-to-back World League matches since 2013. However, the Finns will have another shot in the fifth week when they face Belgium.
Argentina stepped up once again and claimed twin victories over Japan in Pool D. They are unbeaten against Japan in the World League after eight encounters. The only team in the World League that Japan have played a minimum of eight games against and have never won are Cuba after 12 matches.
In Pool E matches, the Netherlands’ 3-2 win against the Czech Republic was their 50th five-setter in the World League. The Dutch side contributed 42 errors to Czech team’s 99 points in their first encounter but still managed to get the 3-2 win. Portugal have won three matches in a row in the World League for the second time after their three victories in 2005. The Koreans lost both matches against Portugal and have now conceded 500 sets in the World League.
Turkey defeated Cuba 3-1 in Pool F after losing the extended first set 35-33. The 68 points in the first set are the most in a single set in the World League this season. Even though Cuba lost to Turkey, they have secured a spot in the Group 3 finals after beating Mexico in straight sets.
China only dropped one match in the weekend to clinch their spot in the Final Four. Slovakia are the other Pool F team that have secured a spot in the Final Four, alongside Pool F’s Turkey and Cuba.
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