Lausanne, Switzerland, June 19, 2014 – USA stay unbeaten after four weeks and are seeking to extend their winning streak in the fifth week of the Intercontinental Round of the FIVB Volleyball World League which is approaching the closing stages of competition.
USA are on top of the Pool B standings and will face winless Bulgaria. USA are the only unbeaten team left in the World League this season and with their impressive 6-0 match-run, they will have home advantage to gain ground on improving their record against Bulgaria. Previously, Bulgaria and USA have met 13 times in the World League, where Bulgaria have won eight matches and USA have won five.
Earlier in Pool A, Poland and Brazil met in Maringá, with both sides winning once by a 3-0 scoreline. Poland will be starting the fifth week with a two-game winning streak, while Brazil pulled off a 3-1 victory over Iran in the fourth week.
These two teams have clashed 31 times before in the World League and Brazil have the advantage with 22 wins against the nine matches won by Poland. In terms of home wins, Poland have lost only two of their last 12 World League home matches and have an unbeaten record in their last six matches on their home turf. Their only two home defeats in this period came in June 2013, when they lost two matches against Brazil.
Last week, Pool A leaders Italy suffered their first defeats of this World League season when they lost twice against Poland. Iran are their opponents in the fifth week. Iran and Italy previously met four times in the World League, including their two straight set victories this season.
Russia and Serbia will face-off for the third and fourth time this season in Pool B. The Serbians clinched both wins against the Russians in their first two encounters. Now, Russia are coming off a two-match winning streak, while Serbia are on a two-match losing streak.
The Pool C matchup of Finland and Belgium will test the latter’s impulse to perk up their head-to-head record as Finland are unbeaten in main tournaments since 1978. The matches this week take place in Antwerp and Kortrijk, where Belgium hold a perfect World League record. Finland, on the other hand, have won twice in the World League this season and could equal their total number of wins from 2013 by beating Belgium twice.
Australia and Canada have six matches to play in Pool C of this season’s World League, of which four will be against each other. They previously met in the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tokyo in 2004, where Australia won in straight sets en route to qualification for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Australia and Canada are gaining momentum in the course of the competition as the Australians won two of their last four matches after remaining winless in their first 14, while the Canadians have won four of their last six World League matches.
Argentina and Germany will play their third and fourth meetings in Pool D this season. In their ten matches in the World League, Argentina only won once over Germany in the second week of this season. Their last encounter ended in a 3-2 win by Germany that marked the only time both teams needed a five-setter to decide the winner.
France and Japan will also play their second double-match encounter this season. These teams have played 18 World League matches against each other with France having the edge of 15 victories over the Japanese side’s three wins.
In Pool E, Czech Republic will use its advantage against any Asian opponents when they take on Korea. Czech Republic have not lost against an Asian nation in the World League. They remained unbeaten in four matches against Japan and two against the Korean team. These two wins against the Korean side are also the only time they faced each other in the World League.
Portugal and the Netherlands played each other four times in Pool E, in which both teams have a winning ratio of 50 per cent. Three out of four matches between them were played in five sets, of which Portugal won two.
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