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China's Zhi Yuan to challenge Bulgaria in Gdansk

China have 2-0 win-loss record in Pool C behind the offensive production of Zhi Yuan
Katowice and Gdansk, Poland, September 5, 2014 – China’s Zhi Yuan looks to continue his astonishing offense at the 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championship when they meet Bulgaria at Ergo Arena of Gdansk to open Pool C actions on Friday.

The scoring-machine Zhi has reached the 30-point plateau in each of his first two matches against Egypt and Mexico compiling 31 and 30, respectively.

Friday’s schedule features three-time defending champions Brazil and Finland in Pool B and reigning Olympic champions Russia and China in Pool C all four undefeated in two outings entering the seventh day of the competition.

Brazil and Finland are the protagonists of the last match of the day in Katowice where big crowds have enjoyed exciting contests the two previous dates at Spodek Hall. Korea and Cuba are pitted to kick off the matches, followed by the clash of Germany and Tunisia.

At Ergo Arena, Canada and Egypt play the second match of the day followed by the meeting of Russia and Mexico.

Pool B in Katowice

Korea v Cuba

Korea (1-1) challenge winless Cuba (0-2) in the first match of Friday in Pool B in Katowice. The Koreans won their first match against Tunisia (3-1) but then were blanked by Finland while Cuba kicked off with a 3-2 defeat to the hands of the Finns and then lost 3-0 against Germany. 

Key facts

•Korea are winless in the five matches against Cuba at the world championships.
• In major competitions, covering 41 matches, Korea have won only one contest
• In those 41 matches, Cuba have won 120 sets to 21 by Korea.

Chul Woo Park is the top offensive Korean player with 24 points in two matches (12.0 average) with Korea, while Javier Jimenez has piled up 36 for Cuba.

Germany v Tunisia

Germany succumbed to Brazil in straight sets the first day of action of Pool B in Katowice but recovered in time to defeat Cuba via shutout on Thursday. On the other hand, Tunisia have a 0-2 win-loss record after losing to Korea 3-1 and to Finland 3-0. These two sides tested forces at the London Olympics with Germany causing a good impression with the victory in straight-sets.

Key facts

• Germany can win two of their first three matches for the first time since 2006
• Last  win of Tunisia was against Puerto Rico in the second group stage in 2006
• Tunisia are yet to win a match against a European side at the WCH (22 matches).

Gyorgy Grozer is the leading scorer for Germany with 30 points in two matches, including six aces, while Marouen Garci tops the Tunisians with 24 of his own.

Brazil v Finland

This is a match between undefeated teams in Pool A with both sides exhibiting 2-0 win-loss balance and the reigning champions Brazil ahead by one point 6-5. The Brazilians have crushed the opposition in their first two matches allowing just 102 points to Germany and Tunisia in the process. The Finns edged Cuba in five sets before blanking Korea. The South Americans have won the three matches against the Nordic side.

• Brazil have succeeded in their last six WCH matches, losing only three sets
• Finland have won at least one set in each of their last seven WCH matches
• Brazil can win their first three WCH matches via 3-0 for the first time since 1998

Olli-Pekka Ojansivu came off the bench to score 23 points in Finland’s victory over Cuba. Ricardo Lucarelli Santos has starred for the Brazilian side with a good overall production.

Pool C in Gdansk

China v Bulgaria

China enter the match with a 2-0 win-loss record following a couple of 3-1 victories over Egypt and Mexico behind the superb production of Zhi Yuan who has scored 61 points (31 and 30) in those two wins. On the other hand, Bulgaria began their campaign with a solid 3-0 triumph over Mexico but then crashed against Canada losing a 3-2 decision. The Bulgarians have prevailed in five of six matches against China at the world championships with China’s only victory at the 1962 edition in five sets.

Key facts

• This will be China’s 100th match at the world championship with a 45-54 record
• Four years ago Bulgaria beat China 3-0 in the first round
• Bulgaria won their only meeting at the Olympic Games: 3-1 in Beijing 2008

Zhi Yuan’s production has consisted of 53 spikes and a tournament-high 8 service aces. Tsvetan Sokolov leads Bulgaria with 36 points, including 22 in the losing effort against Canada.

Canada v Egypt

After losing to Russia 3-0 in their opening match, Canada came back on the shoulders of Gavin Schmitt to take a 3-2 victory over Bulgaria. Meanwhile, Egypt suffered a 3-1 defeat to China before being blanked 3-0 by Russia. The last meeting between these two sides in a major tournament was in the 2003 World Cup when Canada whipped Egypt in straight sets.

Key facts

• Canada have won their last four WCH meetings with African teams
• Canada’s overall record at the world championships is 26-44
• Egypt have lost six in a row at the world championship 

Schmitt scored 22 points in the victory over Bulgaria and leads Canada with 33 points. Ahmed Elkotb tops the Egyptians with 26 points, all via spikes.

Russia v Mexico

Russia lead Pool C with a 2-0 record and 6 points following their 3-0 victories over Canada and Egypt while Mexico are still winless succumbing to Bulgaria and China. This will be the first meeting between Russia and Mexico at the world championship but the Russians won their three previous matches at major tournaments. They won 3-0 at the 1977 and 1991 World Cup and 3-1 at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

Key facts

• Russia have lost twice against NORCECA teams – to USA in 1986 in the final and Cuba in 1990 in the semi finals
• Mexico’s last winning against a team from Europe came 32 years ago when they beat Finland 3-2 on October 10, 1982
• Russia can record four consecutive 3-0 victories for the first time since six in 2006

No player has scored more than 20 points for Russia in a match so far. Dmitriy Muserskiy had 18 against Canada and leads the team with 26. Carlos Guerra and Daniel Vargas have 27 and 25, respectively, for Mexico.


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