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Russia set title defence against Iran; Italy and USA break win-record tie in World League


Lausanne, Switzerland, July 16, 2014 – Iran, Russia, Italy and USA play in the opening matches of the Final Six, renewing their bids for the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World League in Florence, Italy, on Wednesday.

The six teams are divided into two pools and will play in a Round Robin format, with Pool H comprising hosts Italy, USA and nine-time winners Brazil and Pool I including defending champions Russia, Iran and Group 2 winners Australia.

Statistical Preview – Day 1 – World League Finals

- Iran and Russia have met twice in the World League – both matches were won by Russia, foiling Iran’s debut in the World League in 2013.

- In their second participation, Iran have qualified for the Finals for the first time by finishing second in Pool A; Pool I contenders Australia have also achieved this feat.

- If Iran will triumph over Russia, they would improve their win ratio as they have won already 50 per cent of their matches this season, matching their win ratio on their debut.

- Out of their 23 World League appearances, Russia have qualified 22 times for the Final Round; the only time they failed to qualify was in 2012.

- Russia are on a winning spree as they have won seven of their last eight matches – six of those matches were won in straight sets.

- Last season, Russia won only one of the two matches in the Round Robin phase of the Finals but reigned as champions, beating Italy in the semifinal, and Brazil in the final.

- Russia need to overcome their five-setter losing spell, as they have lost all of their five-set matches this season.

- Italy and USA have met 22 times in the World League, evenly splitting the victories with 11 each. They have met twice in the Finals of the World League, where Italy defeated USA in 1992 and 2000 in the Round Robin phase, eventually leading to victories in both World League seasons.

- USA have the edge in victories in their last 12 encounters, as Italy have won only two matches, but in their first 10 encounters, Italy edged USA with a 9-1 record.

- Italy will be entering the Final Round for an impressive 20th time in 25 participations.

- USA reached the Final Round for the eighth time in 17 participations, their last appearance in the Final Round was in 2012 when they lost to Poland in straight sets.

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