World League 2014: New format creates buzz
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 1, 2014 - FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° warned fans to expect surprises in a competition "which has been redesigned to offer more challenges to the experienced teams and more opportunities for teams making their debut." The 2014 FIVB Volleyball World League has certainly lived up to its billing, creating a real volleyball buzz.
Competition newcomers Turkey challenged Cuba in the World League Group 3 final|
After increasing the number of participating teams to 18 last year, the FIVB decided to go one step further in 2014 and introduce 10 more countries to this year’s edition of the World League. The competition is known for its intensive and exhilarating playing schedule, which tests the mettle of even the most experienced teams, and with this year’s format - seven pools of four teams - the competition was set to be more challenging than ever.
A look at the pool rankings going into the last week of the Intercontinental Round reveals how successful the new formula is proving to be. In Group 1, which includes the world’s highest ranked teams, pool action has once again demonstrated how the competition brings out the best in the teams involved. In Pool A, Iran have pulled out all the stops, moving ahead of powerhouses Italy, Brazil and Poland. USA currently lead pool B, ahead of title-holders Russia, Serbia and Bulgaria.
It is perhaps in Pools C, D and E, however, that the benefits of the new format are the most obvious to see. A look at the rankings of the teams in each pool shows what a great opportunity the new competition format has been for teams lower down the world rankings. Belgium (WR 37) currently top Pool C, ahead of Canada (WR 11), Finland (WR 30) and Australia (WR 14). In Pool D, France (WR 16) lead Argentina (WR 7), Germany (WR 10) and Japan (WR 17). In Pool E, the Netherlands (WR 31) are first, ahead of Portugal (WR 38), the Czech Republic (WR 22) and Korea (WR 21).
Although the Group 3 finals last weekend saw Cuba (WR 7) take gold, they were also a chance for two newcomers to the competition to shine. Turkey were making their first appearance and pushed the Cubans all the way in the final in Bursa, Turkey. Cuba eventually won the five-set thriller 3-2. The final for third place saw China take on Slovakia, another newcomer. Again, the more experienced team – China – were challenged by their opponents, who took the first set, even if China rebounded to claim a 3-1 victory.
There is also sure to be more excitement ahead. The final week of the Intercontinental Round will decide the lineup for the Group 2 Finals in Sydney, Australia, which will feature France, who have outplayed better ranked teams Argentina and Germany in Pool D. The Group 1 Finals in Florence, Italy, will also provide a fascinating contest, as the six teams which qualify will do so after some surprising Intercontinental Round results, including difficulties for Brazil (WR 1) and Poland (WR 5), currently third and fourth in Pool A. Title-holders Russia also opened their campaign with a run of four defeats in Pool B.
Click here to read the latest news from the competition. The tournament schedule is available here.
- Brazil’s Pedro/Evandro wins battle of Olympians over USA for gold at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
- USA’s Walsh Jennings/Ross overcomes Spain’s Lili/Elsa for gold medal at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
- Latvia’s Samoilovs/Smedins roar to bronze medal win at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
- Germany’s Sude/Laboureur capture bronze medal at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
- Olympians from Brazil and USA to battle for gold Medal Sunday at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
- USA’s Walsh Jennings/Ross vs. Spain’s Lili/Elsa for women’s gold medal Sunday at $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
- Brazil, Italy, Latvia and USA earn men's semifinal spots Saturday at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
- USA’s Walsh Jennings/ Ross leading women’s field to Saturday semis at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
- Italy’s Rangheiri/Caminati win twice Friday to earn quarterfinal spot at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
- USA’s Hughes/Claes enjoy ‘summer school’ on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour
- Latvia’s Samoilovs/Smedins win their pool 3-0 on Thursday
- Spain’s Fernandez/Baquerizo lead six 3-0 women’s duos to elimination rounds
- USA’s Walsh Jennings/Ross enjoy two home sand wins Wednesday in Long Beach
- USA Olympians Lucena/Dalhausser start quickly at Long Beach Grand Slam
- Trips to Toronto at stake in Long Beach
- Press review: Volleyball still making headlines after rumble in Rio
- Brazil’s George/Thiago progress to main draw at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
- USA’s Larsen/Flint among eight women qualifiers for main draw at $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
- Priddy completes fourth Olympics with pride
- Joy and gratitude for silver medallists Agatha and Barbara
- Serginho highlights role of libero with Rio 2016 MVP award
- Press review: Brazil crowned in spectacular Olympic finale
- MVP Zhu Ting celebrates Chinese team spirit
- Alison and Bruno split gold medal with coach
- From Rio to Tokyo, the countdown for 2020 is on!
- Social media heats up as Brazil top volleyball world
- For USA’s Lee, “Tokyo no, World Championships yes, if they will have me!”
- 2016 FIVB World Tour regular season finale in USA at $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in SoCal
- Tetyukhin's quarter-century Olympic journey comes to tearful end
- Lang Ping becomes first person in volleyball to win Olympic gold as player and coach
- China ride wave of fans' support to gold
- Volleyball men's top guns set for final battle in Rio
- Social media takes Maracanazinho women's medal match drama around the globe
- Dutchmen “floating” home to meet the "King"! Then Toronto?
- Sloetjes rises above disappointment, looks ahead to Tokyo 2020
- Women's Rio 2016 final an all-female affair
- Europeans showing no gap exists with traditional powers
- This is what it's all about: The medals of Rio 2016
- 16 days of Volleyball House activity ends in true Rio style
- Kiraly “phenomenal feeling” after winning fifth Olympic medal
- Video: The Today Show’s take on Bossaball
- Order rules as referees visit Volleyball House
- 2016 FIVB World Tour update after Rio 2016 Olympic Games
- Magic of Copacabana takes over social media
- Unique Maracanazinho semifinal atmosphere captured on social media
- Rematches of Athens 2004 for gold and bronze in Rio 2016
- Medal time is here for women’s tournament
- FIVB delivers impressive sports presentation masterclass at Rio 2016 Olympic Games
- Flashback Friday: Volleyball House celebrates Brazil’s Atlanta 1996 heroes
- Alison and Ludwig top Rio 2016 Olympic performers