Dutch eagerly awaiting their return to World League
The Hague, Netherlands, May 31, 2013 – The Netherlands’ men’s team have worked hard to get back to the FIVB World League and now that they are, they are determined to make their mark on this year’s competition as they prepare for their World League opener against Canada in Quebec on Friday at 23:00 (GMT).
The Dutch team have already played two exhibition matches against Belgium during May as a warm up for the World League and the World Championship qualifier that will be taking place in Croatia.
The Netherlands will be wearing mourning bands in memory of former women's international Ingrid Visser when they face Canada in the first weekend of the World League on Friday and Saturday at the Colisée Pepsi in Québec City.
Coach Edwin Benne is going for the win, but remains realistic about the size of the challenge his team will face.
Benne started to rebuild his team in 2011 after the country’s fifth place finish in the European League and after a period of three years, the Dutch team qualified for this year’s World League competition following its surprise win at the 2012 European League. They also defeated the Dominican Republic and Portugal in the World League qualification matches last year with a selection of young players.
The Netherlands have a rich history of men’s volleyball having won gold at the 1996 Olympic Games and the World League in addition to five silver medals and a bronze. They sit ninth on the overall honours ladder behind Russia, Brazil, Italy, Cuba, USA, Serbia, the Czech Republic and Poland.
This year the World League competition increases from 16 to 18 teams split into three pools of six. It is the first time the World League will feature 18 teams, having had 16 teams from 2001-2003 and 2006-2012. The competition featured eight teams in its inaugural year in 1990, 10 in 1991 and then 12 from 1992-2000 and 2004-05.
Pools A and B were determined using the serpentine system based on the world rankings as of August 13, 2012. Pool C features teams ranked as the next best four in the world rankings after the 12 teams in Pool A and B in addition to wildcards Japan and Portugal.
The top three world ranked teams in each pool will play three matches at home and two away with the bottom three world ranked teams playing twice at home and three times away. The customary World League format of two teams playing twice over the course of a weekend returns after the 2012 edition experienced change due to the congested pre-Olympic Games calendar.
The World League Finals will take place in Mar del Plata, Argentina from July 17 to 21.
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