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Tough battle ahead for hosts in World League Finals

Hosts Argentina will be looking to improve on their fourth place finish in 2011 - their best result in the World League so far

Lausanne, Switzerland, July 17, 2013 – After seven weekends of intercontinental round action, volleyball fans around the world wait with bated breath for the start of the World League Finals in Mar del Plata on Wednesday.

In the Final Six is Brazil who is seeking to become the first country to win the World League 10 times. They are joined by Italy who is aiming for its first World League podium since finishing second in 2004 and Russia.   Together, the three countries have combined for 19 World League titles and 42 podium finishes.

None of the other three finalists – Canada, Bulgaria and hosts Argentina – have ever made the podium. Canada is the only one of the six 2013 World League finalists to be making its finals debut. Canada's previous best World League result was seventh in 1992.

The six qualified teams have been divided into two pools, and will play two round-robin matches each. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the semifinals on Saturday.

Brazil versus Russia – July 17, 2013 – 20.30 (GMT) / 17:30 (local time)

Brazil and Russia go head-to-head in the most common Finals match up in World league history, with Wednesday’s match being their 22nd meeting in the Finals of the World League.

Brazil holds a 15-6 advantage over Russia in the World League Finals, but Russia has won the last two Finals encounters between the teams, both in 2011.

While Brazil reached the 2013 World League Finals by winning Pool A with a 9-1 record, Russia enter the final stage of the competition as the runners-up from pool B with a 7-3 record.

Argentina versus Bulgaria – July 17, 2013 – 00:00 (GMT) / 21:00 (local time)

The two teams have already played twice in the 2013 World League as Pool A rivals, with Bulgaria winning both matches, conceding just one set in the process.

While Bulgaria qualified for the finals by finishing second in a tough Pool A with a 7-3 record, Argentina qualified for the finals as the host nation despite a 1-9 record in Pool A.

Click here for more World League Finals (day 1) statistics

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