World Grand Prix statistical preview: Brazil eye back-to-back titles
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 24, 2014 – Defending
champions Brazil aim for back-to-back championship triumphs, while China and
Japan maintain their perfect participation records in the 22nd edition of the
FIVB World Grand Prix.
· The World Grand Prix Intercontinental Round is split into three groups.
· Group 1 features 12 teams, including defending champions Brazil, USA, Japan, China, Russia, Italy, Serbia, Dominican Republic, Germany, Korea, Turkey and Thailand.
· Group 2 includes eight teams: Poland, Peru, Puerto Rico, Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, Cuba and Belgium.
· Group 3 also includes eight teams: Kenya, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Czech Republic, Mexico, Bulgaria and Australia.
· Matches in Groups 2 and 3 will open the World Grand Prix from July 25-27 in four cities: Lima, Peru (Pool J), Carolina, Puerto Rico (Pool K), Almaty, Kazakhstan (Pool P), and Mexico City, Mexico (Pool Q).
· Pool J comprises Belgium, Canada, Peru and Poland, while Pool K includes Argentina, Cuba, Netherlands, Puerto Rico.
· Debutants Belgium recorded their best season in 2013 when they won bronze at the European Championship defeating Serbia, and silver in the European Volleyball League behind Germany.
· Canada will be playing the World Grand Prix for the second time since 2003.
· Peru will be appearing in the World Grand Prix for the third time and have recorded only one victory so far.
· Poland will make their 11th consecutive appearance in the World Grand Prix.
· Argentina have played 27 matches in the World Grand Prix and have won four times – all were five-set victories against the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Germany and Kazakhstan.
· Cuba are the most experienced in their group stage with eight medals – two gold, four silver, two bronze.
· With Cuba, the Netherlands are the only other gold medal winners in their World Grand Prix group; they have won three of their last four matches in the World Grand Prix, their only loss in this streak was against defending champions Brazil.
· Puerto Rico have played 36 matches in the World Grand Prix, with five victories.
· Pool P includes Kazakhstan, Australia, the Czech Republic and Croatia, while Pool Q consists of Algeria, Bulgaria, Kenya and Mexico.
· Kazakhstan will be in their fifth World Grand Prix season stint; their best result was in their debut season with a 10th place.
· Australia are the first ever participants from Oceania, and the second non-European World Grand Prix debutants since 2009.
· Second-timers Czech Republic will field the youngest player in Pool P, 17-year-old Michaela Mlejnkova.
· Debutants Croatia have won silver medals at the European Championships in 1995, 1997 and 1999.
· Algeria will be making their second appearance and have yet to win a match in the World Grand Prix.
· Bulgaria will also be making their second World Grand Prix appearance, with a positive record of six wins and three defeats; they will automatically qualify to the Final Four in Group 3 as hosts.
· Debutants Kenya are the most successful side in the African Championships, with eight titles and a second place finish.
· First week hosts Mexico will make their debut in the competition, without any player active outside their home league.