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Reigning champs return to action after roaring debut

Russia crushed Canada in straight sets in their opener last Monday
Katowice and Gdansk, Poland, September 3, 2014 – Three-time defending champions Brazil and current Olympic reigning champions Russia come back into action after storming past their opponents to open their quest for the title at the quadrennial FIVB Men’s World Championship.

The two powerful sides both scored straight-set victories confirming their conditions as pre-tournament favourites last Monday.

Brazil are looking for an unprecedented fourth gold medal in a row, while Russia are seeking to increase their record of crowns by adding a seventh gem to their collection.

Brazil close the actions of Day Two in Pool B playing against Tunisia in Katowice, while Russia entertain Egypt in the nightcap in Pool C in Gdansk.

Cuba v Germany

Both Cuba and Germany are coming off defeats in their opening matches in Pool B.

The Cubans suffered a painful loss in five sets to Finland after leading 2-0 and despite an outstanding performance by Javier Jimenez who scored 21 points in the losing effort. On the other hand, Germany were subdued by three-time defending champions Brazil in straight-sets.

The recent history is in favour of Germany, winners of the last two matches against Cuba in the FIVB 2013 World League and at the 2006 World Championship.

Key facts

•Cuba have lost their last two matches and have not lost three in a row at the world championship since 2006

•Germany have been defeated four times in a row, all four in straight sets

•Twice Cuba have started with two consecutive losses at the world championship in 1956 and 2006

Finland v Korea

The two sides successfully opened their campaigns at the 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championship and this only the second time Finland and Korea clash at the world championship.

While Korea won the first match 3-1, it was in 1982 in Buenos Aires. More recently Finland have dominated taking the last seven matches at the World League.

Finland outdueled Cuba 3-2 in a come-from-behind epic victory erasing a 0-2 deficit and despite being outscored 110-106 for the whole match. Korea found inspiration in the form of 24 points scored by Park Chool-Woo en route to a 3-1 victory over Tunisia.

Key facts

•Korea have lost seven consecutive matches against European sides at the world championship

•Finland won their first match in a world championship after losing six consecutive openers

•It was the second victory for Finland after being two sets down with the first in 1978 against United States

Tunisia v Brazil

Brazil started off the right foot their campaign for an unprecedented fourth consecutive crown with a 3-0 victory over Germany.

Now the three-time champions meet a winless Tunisia in their nine meetings in major official competitions, including two at the world championship in 1978 and 2010.

In their most recent contest at the London Olympic Games in 2012, the squad of Bernardo Rezende came up with a 3-0 win.

Key facts

•In 2010 and 2006, Brazil won each of the first two matches before succumbing in the third. In 2002, they lost the second match before winning seven in a row for their first crown

•Tunisia are in a negative four-match losing streak in the competition

•Brazil is seeking their sixth victory in a row, something they have done five times thus far

Bulgaria v Canada

Bulgaria enter the match looking for a second victory in a row after subduing Mexico in straight sets in the opening day of Pool C. Canada on the other hand are coming off a 3-0 loss to Olympic champions Russia.

NORCECA teams have not been able to win against Bulgaria at the world championship since a 3-1 decision in favour of United States in 1956.

Canada have lost twice to Bulgaria with twenty years between the defeats. They lost first in 1978 by 3-1 and then 3-0 in 1998.

Key facts

•Bulgarian Teodor Salparov and Canadian Toontje Van Lankvelt are teammates in the French League

•Canada have lost their last two matches at world championship and last time lost three in a row in the competition was in 1982

• Bulgaria have won their last two matches 3-0 and the last time they won three in a row without losing a set was in 1974

Mexico v China

It is a historic match for both Mexico and China as the two sides never have been pitted in a court at a major tournament.

The Mexicans have lost four of their five contests against Asian teams at the world championship with their only victory against Iraq in 1982 via 3-0. China have lost their last two matches against teams from NORCECA.

Mexico lost to Bulgaria 3-0 in their opener while China kicked off with a 3-1 victory over Egypt fueled by a 31-point performance by Zhi Yuan.

Key facts

•Mexico have lost six of their last seven in the competition, including three in a row

•Last victory of Mexico was against Venezuela 3-0 in 2010

•China have not won back- to-back matches in the world championships since 1998

Egypt v Russia

The two teams began their campaigns with different routes – Egypt losing to China 3-1 and Russia claiming a 3-0 victory over Canada.

It won’t be easy for the Egyptians who have not achieved a victory against Russia in ten matches, including two at world championships.

The closest the Egyptians have been to a victory over Russia was in one of their 2010 World League meetings when the North-African team took two sets before succumbing.

Key facts

•Egypt have lost their last five matches at world championships

•Russia have won their last four matches at world championships and they have dropped only one set in the process

•The only world championships in which Russia did not start with two wins were the 2002 and 2006 editions


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