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Squads announced as World League approaches

This is the first time ever that the world’s premier annual men’s volleyball tournament will feature 32 teams
Lausanne, Switzerland April 15, 2015 – The final squad lists for this year’s FIVB Volleyball World League 2015 have been officially announced, with the tournament set to begin in just over a month’s time.

The 26th edition of the world’s premier annual men’s volleyball tournament will be the biggest yet, with 32 countries competing across three groups around the world.

Each squad includes 25 players with the competition due to take place across 10 weeks of exciting action starting May 16. Countries have been split across eight pools, with three group finals set to take place.

Defending champions USA lead Group 1 and have unsurprisingly included 2014 MVP Taylor Sander. He is joined by the likes of 2014 Best Middle Blocker David Lee, Zenit Kazan’s Matt Anderson and long-time captain William ‘Reid’ Priddy.

Brazil will be hoping to usurp their North American rivals as they look to bounce back from two silver medal finishes in a row and clinch a tenth crown in the tournament. They have already been guaranteed a place in the Group 1 Finals as hosts, but will hope to make an impact ahead of the finale in Rio de Janeiro from July 15 to 19. Veteran libero Sergio Dutra Santos has been called up to the squad with the 39-year-old looking to make a run at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after initially retiring from international duty following London 2012.

FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2014 winners Poland will hope to rebuild quickly after success in front of their home fans last October. Tournament MVP Mariusz Wlazly has now retired, as has Michal Winiarski, leaving big shoes to fill. However, they will be buoyed by the inclusion of Bartosz Kurek who returns to the fold.

Elsewhere in Group 1, 2014 Best Libero Salvatore Rossini will once again step out for Italy alongside captain Emanuele Birarelli and star player Ivan Zaytsev. Iran will also be looking to their captain, Mir Saeid Marouflakrani, as they hunt for a first medal in the tournament while Dmitriy Muserskiy and Alexey Spiridonov will terrorise defences for Russia.

Serbia and Australia complete Group 1, with the latter almost certainly aiming to provide an upset among their more established rivals.

Group 2 will consist of three pools with the winners qualifying for the finals alongside hosts Bulgaria in Varna.

France will be eager to bounce back after missing out on qualification for Group 1 last year after a shocking loss to Australia. Eavin Ngapeth returns after the huge impact he made at last year’s Men’s World Championship.

Group 3 will take place over four weeks, with three pools of four competing to join Slovakia in Bratislava for the Finals.

Montenegro will make their bow in the tournament, with Vojin Cacic leading the team in their maiden campaign. Mitar Tzourits will also captain Greece in their first outing in the World League in a decade.

The World League featured eight teams in its inaugural year in 1990, 10 in 1991, 12 from 1992-2000 and 2004-05, 16 from 2001-2003 and 2006-2012, 18 in 2013 and 28 in the 2014 edition.

The squad lists can now be consulted on the 2015 FIVB Volleyball World League site.

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