President Graça: World League Group 3 Finals provide "unique opportunity"
The Group 3 Finals, which bring together the best teams in World League Pools F and G, take place at the Cengiz Gollu Volleyball Hall in Bursa, Turkey. On Saturday, the semifinals will see Cuba take on China at 14.00 local time, while hosts Turkey will play Slovakia at 17.00. On Sunday, the final for third place will be played at 14.00 local time, before the final for first place at 17.00.
This year, 28 teams are competing in the World League, which is ten teams more than in 2013. The 28 teams are split into seven pools of four teams each. Group 1 contains Pools A and B, Group 2 includes Pools C, D and E, while Group 3 saw Cuba take on debutants Tunisia, Turkey and Mexico in Pool F and China and Slovakia dominate Puerto Rico and Spain in Pool G.
Cuba finished top of Pool F on 15 points, two more than second-placed Turkey. The Caribbean team have played their semifinal opponents China nine times in the World League, winning six matches and losing three. China meanwhile progressed to the semifinal after earning 14 points from five wins and one loss in Pool G, three points more than runners-up Slovakia. Cuba are currently ranked seventh in the world and were 13th in the 2013 edition of the World League. China are ranked 18th, but did not participate in last year’s 18-team event.
The second semifinal will see Slovakia, who are ranked 36th and are also new to the FIVB’s premier annual competition for national teams, take on Turkey. The Group 3 Finals hosts are the lowest ranked team participating in this year's World League, but will hope to gain an advantage from playing in front of home support in Bursa. This is also their first participation in the competition.
Visit the Live Scorebox page for the latest news and results this weekend. World League Intercontinental Round action also continues with matches in Pools A-E.