Week 6 World League statistical preview: rivalries intensify and Group 3 Final Four unwraps
Iran are establishing a reputation of upsetting the top teams in the World League|
Lausanne, Switzerland, June 26, 2014 – Iran
and Poland will set a power-packed duel in Tehran and record their first two
meetings as colleagues Italy and Brazil take a breather in Pool A, while USA
take on Russia for another contest in Kaliningrad in Pool B on the sixth week
of the Intercontinental Round of the FIVB Volleyball World League from June 27
Twelve teams heat up the competition in
their respective pool plays in Group 2, while the final round of Group 3 institutes
the ground-breaking cluster competition format of the World League.
After their impressive wins over Brazil in
Italy in the previous weeks, Asian powerhouse Iran have established a
reputation of upsetting top teams. Iran have won their last two matches against
European teams – two wins against Pool A leaders Italy – and can record three
wins in a row against another European opposition for the first time in their
team history. On a positive note, Poland have only lost two of their 20 matches
against Asian oppositions China and Japan in the 2008 World League.
Iran are currently second in the group and
are hoping to reach the World League finals for the first time, while Poland
are in perfect balance in this World League season with four wins and four
Meanwhile, USA and Russia go head-to-head
for the 23rd time in the World League – the latter have the upper hand with 14
wins in their previous encounters. But USA have won both meetings with Russia
in this season with 3-2 and 3-0 score lines. The last time USA have beaten
Russia in consecutive matches in the World League was in 1992 when they recorded
double 3-0 victories, and eventually won a bronze medal – one of their four
World League medals that year.
In the other Pool B match, Serbia and
Bulgaria will meet for the 10th time with Serbia on a slim edge of five wins
against the four wins of Bulgaria. In their latest encounters, Serbia won the
last two matches and have never won three in a row against the Bulgarian squad.
Bulgaria, on the other hand, were able to beat Serbia in three consecutive
matches in 2003.
On the first week, Belgium beat Australia
twice in Pool C on 3-0 and 3-1 score lines. But since then, Australia have earned
their first-ever three wins in the World League. Australia have played three
five-setters in the World League this season and have won two, while Belgium
played two five-setters and lost both matches.
Also in Pool C, Canada and Finland revive
their first week rivalry. As the Canadians fare better than the Finns in the
number of wins, the Finns are hoping to break their alternate win-loss patterns
in their last six matches. These teams also met in the World League in 2007,
2012 and 2013, with both teams splitting the wins with five each.
France and Argentina will meet again on the
sixth week. These teams have met on 16 previous occasions, with France winning
nine times, including the double victories scored on the first week of the
World League. Apart from maintaining Pool D leadership, France have now won the
last four encounters with Argentina and can qualify for the final round of
Group 2 by winning one of the two matches against Argentina. Nonetheless, the
Frenchmen will also proceed to the next round by losing twice in a five-setter.
To qualify for the final round, Argentina need two wins against the French side
with one of those matches ending in a 3-0 or 3-1 score line.
Japan and Germany have met ten times
before, with the latter having the advantage of six wins in their previous
encounters. This season in Pool D, Germany met Japan twice, with Germany
winning both fixtures. The last Japanese victory over the German side came in
2011 in a five-set duel.
Korea and the Netherlands have met each
other 20 times but the Koreans only managed to win two matches against the
Dutch side. The last match between these two countries though favoured Korea
with a 3-1 score line on the second week of the World League in Pool E, after
18 defeats in a row against Netherlands and the first since they first met in
1993. In their last 14 matches, none have ended in a five-setter.
Portugal and Czech Republic scored a draw
against each other in their previous encounters. They have played each other
twice before the World League, where Portugal won the first match and Czech
Republic won the second match. Czech Republic are on a skid, having lost three
of the last four matches in the World League, while Portugal have won four of
their last five matches.
The group winners Cuba of Pool F and China
of Pool G will meet in the first semifinal. Cuba and China have each lost one
match in the Intercontinental Round and both did this against a fellow Final
Four competitor Turkey and Slovakia, respectively. These teams have met nine
times in the World League and China have three wins, while Cuba have six, including
the last two victories.
In the other semifinal match-up, debutants
Turkey and Slovakia will face each other. These two teams managed to finish
second in their pools. These teams have met at the 2013 European Championships,
where Slovakia edged the Turkish side 3-2 in the group stage. Turkey are the
lowest ranked World League team on 45th place. Although they had an automatic berth
for the Final Four as hosts, they took matters in their own hands by winning
their last four matches. Slovakia, are the only team with a 100 per cent record
in first sets of matches – winning all in six of their matches.
World League Statistics Preview