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Volleyball family look forward to 2014 World Championship

Julio Velasco who has taken the Iran men's national team from strength to strength is looking forward to the challenge of the competition that the World Championship will provide

Lausanne, Switzerland, January 31, 2014 – With the pools for the first round of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Poland 2014 confirmed, the participating teams can now start putting in place their final preparations for the much awaited tournament.

Drawn into group B with three time current world champions Brazil, Germany’s coach Vital Heynen weighed the result carefully. “I would not have necessarily liked to have Finland, which is a good team, but you cannot have everything. Tunisia is a potential enemy from Africa, one we know from beating at the Olympics. Korea, I do not even know."

Frank Depestele, setter for the Belgian national team admitted that being drawn into group D with the likes of Iran, Italy and France will not be a walk in the park for his team. “Iran should certainly not be underestimated. Italy and France we know well and although we beat them the last time, they remain formidable opponents. NORCECA 1 should be the United States and NORCECA 4 may be Mexico, but we must wait. We have to watch match by match, because in a World Championship a lesser team can beat a stronger team. If we go to the second round, we would have put in a good performance."

Depestele’s sentiments were echoed by France’s coach Laurent Tillie who said, “In every group you have one or two teams that are a little bit at a lower level, but our group is a tough group. I expect many things because when you start a competition you dream to be on the podium. I expect to make it out of the first round and after we will see, because you don’t know what will happen.”

After impressing the volleyball pundits with a ninth place finish in their World League debut appearance last year, Iran coach Julio Velasco said that he was looking forward to further clashes with Italy.

“We met them already in the World League and the Grand Champions Cup and we had good results, but we know that Italy is one of the best teams in the world. Some groups are more easy, some more difficult, but you can’t do anything about that. The important thing is only to pass the first turn. After that, all the matches will be difficult.”

Former Italian volleyball player Lorenzo Bernardi who was twice world champion with his national team in 1990 and 1994 knows from experience that mental power is the key to success.

“Everything can be very hard just as it can be very easy,” said Bernardi. “The most important thing for a player is to know how to deal with the pressure. Any team wanting to win the World Championship will find that they will have a lot of pressure to deal with on the road to the title.”   

Italy, hosts of the 2010 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, narrowly missed out on a third place finish four years ago when they were beaten by Serbia in the bronze medal match. But the current world No. 3 have shown that mental focus and a positive attitude can rapidly improve their game.

At the 2013 World League, even though they missed stars like Samuele Papi, Luigi Mastrangelo and Alessandro Fei, the new-look Italy side impressed with seven victories on their way to winning a strong Pool B. Ivan Zaytsev was the top scorer in the Preliminary Round with 215 points. They overcame Bulgaria 3-2 in the bronze-medal match, but their most spectacular result was their 3-1 victory over Olympic champions Russia.

But it will be the host team, Poland who will be looking to make their mark at the World Championship in front of the home crowd with new coach Stephane Antiga at the helm.

After failing to defend their 2012 World League title last year and also missing out on the medals at the European Championship on home soil, Poland will have to work hard to break through the competition. Local
hero, Tomasz Wojtowicz a former volleyball player from Poland who was on the team that won Olympic gold in 1976 expressed his confidence in Poland saying, “Poland and Serbia can be sure that they will qualify to the next round.”

The men’s and women’s FIVB Volleyball World Championships are staged every four years and are the most prestigious event in international volleyball. The FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Poland will take place from August 30 to September 31 in the following six cities: Katowice, ?ódz, Wroc?aw, Gdansk, Bydgoszcz and Krakow. There will be 24 teams from five continents taking part in their year’s tournament.

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