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World Grand Prix squad line-ups released

Fan can expect more action and excitement as 28 teams get set to take part in the World Grand Prix this year - the largest number of teams the tournament has seen to date

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 20, 2014 – The 2014 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix line-ups of 28 teams for the Intercontinental Round have been released prior to the kick off on July 25.

Eight more teams were added to the roster of the best women’s teams in the world this year from the 20 teams in 2013, bracing for the biggest ever assembly of teams in the premier annual women’s tournament.

The 28 teams were split into three groups to complement for more breathtaking action in the World Grand Prix. Group 1 consists of 12 teams, while Groups 2 and 3 have 8 teams each.

In Group 1, nine-time winners Brazil lead the topnotch group of teams that includes USA, Japan, China, Russia, Italy, Serbia, Dominican Republic, Germany, Korea, Turkey and Thailand. Former World Grand Prix winners Cuba and Netherlands head Group 2, together with Poland, Peru, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Canada and debutants Belgium. World Grand Prix first-timers Kenya, Algeria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Mexico, Bulgaria and Australia will start their campaigns in Group 3.

Defending champions Brazil are almost intact as most of their players from last edition have returned to fortify their campaign this season although they will miss the services of their finest libero Fabiana Oliveira, who recently announced her retirement from the national team.

The Chinese team headed by returnee coach Lang Ping will put her faith in her young players. On her second year after her return, Lang gave China a silver medal at the World Grand Prix with Zhu as her main offensive weapon. Powerful hitter Wang Yimei will not see action this year.

Sensational opposite hitter Jovana Brakocevic will once again lead the Serbian cast, supported by 2013 World Grand Prix best blocker Milena Rasic and best outside hitter Brankica Mihajlovic.

Japan will rely on Olympic bronze medallist Saori Kimura perking up their campaign but will also bank on their bevy of young players Miyu Nagaoka, Risa Ishii, Yukiko Ebata and prolific setter Haruka Miyashita. On the defensive end, the Japanese team will take its cue from its venerable libero Yuko Sano.

FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship hosts Italy are scheming to reinforce their squad after dipping in the last three editions of the World Grand Prix, by bringing in several returnees, including world champion coach Marco Bonitta. In line with the plan, coach Bonitta summoned veterans Francesca Piccinini, Taismary Aguero, Nadia Centoni, Francesca Ferretti, Valentina Fiorin, Antonella Del Core and Serena Ortolani, to team up with the young and current players of the squad.

After a dominant run in the World Grand Prix from 2010 to 2012, and an unlikely sixth place finish in 2013, USA are out to prove that their team is still the top favourites to make it to the final round in Tokyo. Their key playmaker Alisha Glass will lead team-mates Kristin Lynn Hildebrand, Lauren Gibbemeyer, Nicole Fawcett and Christa Harmotto. The team will certainly toughen up, with the return of Jordan Quinn Larson-Burbach and Foluke Akinradewo – both players figured in their three-year reign in the World Grand Prix.

In 2013, the volleyball community witnessed the emergence of young players Gabriela Guimaraes (Gabi) from Brazil, Zhu Ting from China, and Valentina Diouf from Italy. These youngsters showed an impressive performance in the final round in Sapporo, Japan. This year, Gabi, Zhu and Diouf will be back to banner their squads in Group 1.

From the other squads, notable names are Dominican Republic’s scoring queen Bethania De La Cruz, Margareta Kozuch and block specialist Christiane
Fürst from Germany, Kim Yeon-Koung from Korea, Nataliya Goncharova and Tatiana Kosheleva from Russia, Onuma Sittirak and Nootsara Tomkom from Thailand, Neslihan Demir and Neriman Ozsoy from Turkey.

Find out more information on the FIVB World Grand Prix team line-ups


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