World League Pools remain close going into third round
Lausanne, Switzerland, June 20, 2012 – The 2012 FIVB Volleyball World League moves into its eighth weekend of action on Friday with 12 teams now battling it out to join Poland and hosts Bulgaria in the Finals.
Cubans sitting pretty in Pool A
Cuba have had a successful opening two rounds, suffering just one defeat to leave them top of the Pool. They completed a clean sweep in the Dominican Republic last weekend and will look to do the same.
However Serbia are just two points behind so any slip-ups will likely be pounced upon. This weekend’s hosts and defending champions, Russia, have had a tumultuous start to their campaign winning three matches. They will want the home fans in Kaliningrad to be behind them.
-Cuba are yet to lose to Japan in the World League, winning 10 matches in total
-Japan and Russia are likely to be very familiar with each other having face 63times in FIVB tournaments. The Russians have a heavy advantage with 54 wins to Japan’s 10
-While Russia have the edge over Serbia in overall wins (33 to 14), Serbia have a history of toppling their European rivals in the World League, winning 13 out of 16 matches
USA and France to battle for top spot
Pool C remains close with USA just edging France on set-ratio. The two sides have clinched a one win over each other this year so will be looking to gain the advantage this weekend.
However, Italy will also be keen to get involved in the action as they are just two points behind on nine.
For hosts Korea, they will be hoping for a second win following their epic five-set victory over Italy last weekend.
-Korea sealed their second World League win over Italy last weekend and their third against the same team in an FIVB tournament
-France may not have the edge over their American rivals in all FIVB tournaments, but they have a 6-5 win-loss record against their rivals from across the Atlantic in the World League
-Italy and USA have almost a 50 per cent win-loss record against each other in the World League, with the Italians coming out on top narrowly with 11 victories from 20 encounters.
Germany, Argentina and Bulgaria jostle for control
Just three points separates Germany, Argentina and Bulgaria in Pool D, with all three still well on course for a place in the Finals. All have won four matches and all will be looking to break away from the pack this weekend.
Hosts Portugal meanwhile will be happy enough to get off the starting line however as they are yet to seal a win in this year’s tournament. They will look to the Guimaraes fans to give them a boost.
-Germany’s win over Argentina was their sixth over the South American side in as many matches, with the Argentineans yet to break the duck
-Bulgaria added a fourth win from four FIVB matches with Portugal last weekend with the latter never having beaten their European rivals in a FIVB tournament
-Germany have only ever won eight out of 26 matches against Bulgaria, and have yet to beat their European rivals in this year’s tournament
-Portugal will certainly be considered underdogs having only won a combined eight matches in 31 against their pool rivals
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