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  World League 2005 Pre Tournament News   

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The match of the week by satellite
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 27, 2005 – The FIVB Board of Administration decided, during its meeting from 29 April to 1st May, to broadcast by satellite the match of the week in the World League competition.
For the first week-end of the event, the FIVB decided to choose the Italy-France match, which will take place in Catania (Italy) on Sunday 29 May as of 2 p.m. GMT (4 p.m. local time). More French
Battle on as Cuba & Bulgaria open 2005 World League
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 27, 2005 – World number 16 Cuba and world number 13 Bulgaria, who surprised all by reaching the final round last year, have the privilege of opening the 2005 World League with their first Intercontinental Round match in Varna starting at 18:00 (local time) on Friday. It promises to be a riveting contest with Cuba showing some encouraging preseason form having beaten Greece and Argentina in two friendly series while Bulgaria, who finished fourth last year, go into the match with a new coach in 33-year-old Martin Stoev. More Pic: The atmosphere will be electric in Bulgaria on Friday where more than 35,000 fans witnessed World League action during last year's competition
Injury hit Poland hope to overcome receiving problem
Bydgoszcz, Poland, May 27, 2005 – New Polish coach Raul Lozano has much more to worry about than facing his own country when Poland host Argentina in Bydgoszcz in the opening of the round of the 2005 World League this weekend. Having lost three receivers ahead of Friday night’s opening match, Lozano is facing a juggling act.
The Argentine has been forced into modifying his squad with Michal Bakiewicz (blood clot), Sebastian Swiderski (strained knees) and Dawid Murek (strained abdomen muscles) all out injured and he has confirmed that his first starting lineup will include: Zagumny, Winiarski, Gruszka, Wlazly, Kadziewicz and Gacek as libero but could change again for Saturday’s second match. More
Pic: The last time Poland and Argentina played, Poland won 3-2 (25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 22-25, 20-18) at the Athens Olympics
Young and renewed Argentina looking forward to sparkling return
May 26, 2005 - After a two year absence, Argentina fans will once more be able to satisfy their Volleyball hunger when they witness Argentina back in action in the premier men’s annual tournament – the World League – when the 2005 edition starts on Friday.
While the home fans will be packing the stadiums in Buenos Aires and Rosario in week two, three and six of the Intercontinental Round, they’ll have to see how their side first fare in an away trip to Poland, with the first match at 19:00 (local time) in Bydgoszcz. More Argentina squad Poland squad Argentina team Profile Poland team Profile Click here for biographies of the Polish squad Pic: Argentina lost to Poland 3-2 (25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 22-25, 20-18) during the Athens Olympics but this weekend the visitors will be missing some stars while Poland have been hit by injuries
Fresh start for France and Italy
Ragusa, Italy, May 26, 2005 – In what is expected to be one of the most riveting contests during the opening round of the 2005 World League this weekend, world number six France arrived in Ragusa on Wednesday in preparation for two away matches against last year’s silver medallists and world number two Italy starting on Friday at 20:30 (local time). With both sides grouped in arguably the toughest of the three pools - Pool B - this weekend’s fixtures will be crucial in gaining the early ascendancy, especially when one considers Bulgaria and Cuba complete the group. More French squad Italian squad Pic: Pierre Pujol sets for Vincent Montmeat during the 2004 World League where France finished fifth
Can Brazil make it three in a row?
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 25, 2005 – They already have the 2002 World Championship crown, the 2003 World Cup and some 2004 Olympic gold medals in their trophy cabinet, now the world’s number men’s team Brazil will launch their campaign for their third successive World League triumph when the opening whistle blows on Friday to open the 16th edition of the FIVB’s premier annual event. In just two days time 12 teams from around the world will face off in the first of six high intensity weekends of Intercontinental Round action. With three pools of four teams playing home and away during, the top team from each pool will advance to the final round in Belgrade from July 8-10 joining automatic qualifiers as hosts Serbia and Montenegro. More Pic: Brazil on the World League winner's podium in 2004
The who's who of Poland
May 25, 2005 - Poland, who finished seventh in last year’s World League, are preparing to host Argentina in the Pool C on the opening weekend of the 2005 World League starting on Friday night. With a new captain - Piotr Gruszka replacing Pawel Zagumny – a new coach with Raul Lozano and having just come off a 3-2 win in their final warm-up match before the World League against Slovakia, the world number seven is heading into a new era. Click here for biographies of the Polish squad Team Profile Squad List
Pic: Poland finished fifth at the 2004 Olympic Games

The “Red Wine” team hoping for a better vintage
May 25, 2005 – Having missed out on last year’s competition, world number 13 Venezuela are hoping for big things in the 2005 World League and there’s no better way to start than against the world’s top ranked team Brazil in this weekend’s opening round. Under the direction of new coach Eliseo Ramos, current Pan American champions Venezuela will find in Brazil an extremely tough opponent considering they are World, Olympic and World League champions and are favourites to retain their title. However, overall the goal set by Venezuelan Volleyball authorities is to improve the national team’s performance of the past three editions of the World League (2001-2003), where the “red wine” team finished last each time. More 2003 World League Overall World League Results Pic: Ernardo "Harry" Gomez was Venezuela's top scorer in 2003
Minuzzi steps up the pace as he seeks spot in Brazilian starting lineup
Rio de Janiero, Brazil, May 24, 2005 – The life of Roberto Minuzzi is running at top speed. With barely 23 years to his name, the outside hitter has already been chosen as the best attacker of the domestic Brazilian league three times, has a title and two runner’s up competition medals and has been world champion with the Brazilian youth team. To top everything though, he would love to break into the team of Bernardinho, so for the past two weeks he has been working in the Volleyball Development Center in Rio de Janeiro under the command of the national coach. More Pic: Minuzzi in practice at the Brazilian Volleyball Development Center in Rio de Janeiro Brazilian Team Roster
Cuba complete series whitewash of Greece
Athens, Greece, May 23, 2005 – Cuba completed a sensational build up to the 2005 World League by winning their sixth friendly match out of seven with a 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-11, 24-26, 15-8) victory over Greece in their third and final match in the Peace and Friendship stadium on Monday.
Cuba had earlier beaten Greece 3-0 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday after coming off a 3-1 series win over Argentina. More
Pic: Greece will be hoping for a better result when they play Serbia and Montenegro in the opening weekend of the 2005 World League starting on Friday
Pimienta hoping to see more of Greece
Athens, Greece, May 22, 2005 – With Cuba currently taking on Greece in a three-match friendly series at the Peace and Friendship stadium in Athens, Cuba captain Paval Pimienta has admitted he expects to meet Greece twice in competitive play over the next two years.
Cuba, who currently leads the friendly series 2-0 after a 3-0 win on Friday and a 3-2 win on Saturday, have been impressive in their preseason build up, having also beaten Argentina 3-1 earlier and Pimienta belives his young team are on track for big things this year.
"We are aiming for two things this year,” the 204cm giant said. “The final round of the World League and final round of the 2006 World Championship in Japan, that is also important. We are scheduled to play a World Championship second round tournament in August with Canada, Panama, and two other sides and we hope and we believe that we can finish in the top two and go to Japan. I hope and I wish we meet also Greece there as well as in the World League." More
Pic: Pimienta is an inspirational player in Cuba's young side
Argentina “proud” to play in World League again – Ferraro
Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 19, 2005 – Argentina captain Hernan Ferraro said it was a very proud moment for him and his team to play in this year’s World League competition after a two-year absence at the Argentine launch of the 2005 World League in Buenos Aires on Thursday, which took place in the presence of Government authorities headed by Chief Governor Anibal Ibarra, the President of the FeVA Mr. Alejandro Bolgeri and numerous media. “After the Olympic Games and the World Championship, the World League is the most important men’s event so we are very proud of being able to play in it,” Ferraro said. “It means facing the big international teams, as visitors and hosts, and it will be an incredible experience looking forward to the 2006 World Championships. More Pic: (Courtesy of Feva) Argentina captain Hernan Ferraro (middle) hands a national playing shirt to Chief Governor Anibal Ibarra with Argentina coach Fabian Armoa looking on
Ready for Take-Off
Lausanne, Switzerland, 19 May, 2005 - On 27 May, the 2005 World League will get under way in what promises to be, once again, a thrilling fight for the title. As the title-holder two years in a row, Brazil is favoured to win. However, Serbia & Montenegro and Italy, who were edged out in 2003 and 2004, will do their best to beat Brazil and walk away with the 1 million US$ in prize money (out of 13 million in total) awarded to the winner of the Final in Belgrade, from 8 to 10 July, that is sure to be sensational. More French Spanish
Giani stops by on Italian preparations
Rome, Italy, May 18, 2005 – Last year’s World League runner’s up Italy welcomed former skipper Andrea Giani into a team-building lunch session in Rome on Wednesday.
With less than 10 days to go until the opening whistle of the 2005 event, Italy had lunch together in the presence of the inspirational Giani, who, as one of the hardest spikers in the game, played in 13 out of the 15 World League editions played to date, starting in 1991 and finishing last year with seven World League gold medals in return plus three World Championship gold medals, before embarking on a gym session in the afternoon.
Pic: Giani with 419 on his shirt when playing his record breaking 419th match during the 2003 World League
Greece prepare to welcome Cuba
May 18, 2005 – Following a 3-1 demolition job over Argentina, Cuba will arrive in Greece on Thursday for three friendly matches on Friday, Saturday and Monday as both teams continue their build up towards the 2005 World League, which starts on May 27.
Greece open their World League campaign hosting last year’s bronze medallists Serbia and Montenegro in the Peace and Friendship Stadium on May 27-28 while Cuba travels to Bulgaria. More Pic: The support for Greece at the Peace and Friendship stadium during the Olympic Games was incredible
Cuba beat Argentina 3-1 in World League warm up
May 17, 2005 – They came, they saw and more than 10,000 fans witnessed four friendly matches between Cuba and Argentina, which incidentally saw the Cubans take the series 3-1. Following three straight victories to Cuba in the northern Argentine cities of Salta, Tucuman and Catamarca, the home side finally got on the board in the final match on Tuesday, winning 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-17) in what coach Fabian Armoa said was an encouraging result with the 2005 World League just 10 days away. More
Pic: Cuba coach Roberto Garcia has his young side playing extremely well 10 days out from the start of the World League
Blain calls World League as his side's most important event of the year
May 16, 2005 - Labeled as a team that hasn’t yet fulfilled its potential on the World League stage, France are in desperate need of a star studded performance to silence the critics who have been pilloring their past performances in this event. Failure to reach the finals in Madrid in 2003 meant that Les Blues had to settle for a 10th place finish before a more respectable 5th place finish last year. Coach Philippe Blain has singled out the 2005 World League competition as his side's most important event this year, with his team looking for ideal preparation ahead of a 2006 World Championship third round assignment in July under the leadership of new captain Stéphane Antiga. Team profile France squad Pic: New French captain Stéphane Antiga receives during the 2004 Olympic Games
Excellent warm-up for Portugal
May 12, 2005 - The Portuguese national men’s side, coached by Orlando Samuels, won their second game out of three in their five-match series with the Russian club team of VC Neftyanik in Vila do Conde on Thursday. After winning the first match on Tuesday 3-1 and then losing the second 3-2 on Wednesday, Portugal fought back to win the third match 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 28-26). More Portugal Tournament info More World Championship news Pic: Portugal are starting to develop better combinations says Samuels
Cuba to start tour of Argentina on Thursday
May 9, 2005 – Following visa problems Cuba’s four-match friendly tour of Argentina will now start on Thursday following the late arrival of the Cuban side in Argentina on Wednesday. The tour, which is ideal preparation for both squads ahead of the 2005 World League, which starts on May 27, will see the two teams now play on Thursday in Salta, again on Friday in Tucumán, Sunday in Catamarca and the final match Tuesday, May 17, in Cordoba. More
Pic: Cuba will be looking for valuable match practice to please their passionate fans ahead of the 2005 World League
Portugal prepare for season with Russian competition
May 8, 2005 - The Portuguese national men’s side, coached by Orlando Samuels, will carry out a period of training with the Russian team of VC Neftyanik, who will be visiting the country from May 8-15, in preparation for the 2006 Men’s World Championship second round tournament, which will be held from May 20-22 in Vila do Conde. More Portugal Tournament info More World Championship news
Pic: Portugal’s most recent performance in an FIVB international tournament was the 2004 World League where they finished 13th
Nalbert – The farewell of my dreams
May 7, 2005 – Brazilian Volleyball legend Nalbert Bitencourt said winning the national Superliga title with his Brazilian club side Banespa/Mastercard last month, “could not be better. It was the farewell of my dreams.”
To the disappointment of many indoor Volleyball fans in Brazil and around the world, the former Brazilian captain has decided to try Beach Volleyball in 2005 and in doing so has brought the curtain down on an illustrious indoor career. More
Pic: Nalbert receives during a group match at the Olympic Games in Athens
Venezuela waiting on five players
May 6, 2005 – With less than three weeks before the whistle blows to start the 2005 World League competition, Venezuela coach Eliseo Ramos is waiting for five players to return from domestic Volleyball leagues overseas.
Thomás Ereú, Fredy Nieto, Luis Díaz, Iván Márquez and Ronald Méndez are all playing abroad with Márquez expected to be the last player to return in the middle of May when the Belgium league finishes. More
Pic: There was great harmony in the 2003 Venezuela squad

Garcia aiming for improvement for his Cuba side
Havana, Cuba, May 5, 2005 – Cuba coach Roberto Garcia is quietly confident of improving on his side’s 2004 World League seventh-place finish ahead of this year’s edition which starts on May 27. Garcia unveiled his 12-strong line up on Thursday from the group of 18 previously named with veteran middle blocker Pavel Pimienta leading the way along with Yasser Portuondo, Osmany Juantorena, Henry Bell, Odelvis Dominico and setter Javier Gonzalez. More
Pic: Henry Bell, watched by coach Roberto Garcia, makes a superb save during last year's World League Intercontinental Round
Italy go into training camp
May 5, 2005 – Italian coach Gian Paolo Montali has named a 16-strong squad who will train in Emilia-Romagna from Sunday May 8 through to May 14 in preparation for their busy international season ahead.
The Azzurri, who collected silver and bronze at the two previous World League tournaments, have a World League campaign from May 27-July 10 before hosting a 2006 World Championship round three tournament in Napoli from July 29-31. More
Pic: Italian coach Gian Paolo Montali will put his squad through its paces next week
Bernardinho includes six more players
May 4, 2005 – Brazilian coach Bernardo Rezende called six more players into his World League training camp at the Volleyball Development Center in Rio de Janiero on Wednesday.
The Olympic and world champions are building up momentum ahead of the defence of their World League title, which starts with a trip to Venezuela on May 28-29. More
Pic: Brazilian coach Bernardo Rezende with (from left to right in yellow) André Heller, Anderson Rodrigues, Sérgio Santos (obscured), Giba and Ricardo
Bulgaria - A force to be reckoned with
May 3, 2005 - When Bulgaria finished fifth in the 2003 World League, the Volleyball stood up and applauded an excellent performance. But when they finished fourth last year there was many who recognized that this is a team which is developing into one of the sharpest on the international stage. However, with Martin Stoev having replaced Brunko Gavrilov as coach and with inspirational captain and setter Vladimir Nikolov having stepped down from the international scene, it will be interesting to see how efficient the traditionally strong Bulgarian offence is in 2005, with a talented youngster in Andrey Zhekov handed the responsibility of orchestrating the Bulgarian attacking artillary. Team profile Bulgaria squad Pic: Bulgaria finished fourth in the 2004 World League - their best ever finish
Serbia & Montenegro aiming for fourth successive medal
April 25, 2005 - Ever since claiming the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games, Serbia and Montenegro (the former Yugoslavia) has consistently been in the mix when it comes to considering medal contenders for international men’s Volleyball events and this year, as hosts of the final round of the premier international men's Volleyball tournament, the 2005 World League will be no different.
Team profile Serbia and Montenegro squad
Pic: Serbia & Montenegro claimed the bronze medal at the 2004 World League by beating Bulgaria
Italy hoping to go one step further
April 22, 2005 - For many Italian Volleyball fans, the 2005 World League will hopefully signal a new beginning for their national side. The Azzurri have become the perennial bridesmaids to world number one Brazil in recent years, having finished runner's up to the South Americans at the 2004 Olympic Games, last year's World League, which was held in Rome, and the 2003 World Cup. After such an illustrious tradition in men's Volleyball, particularly in the World League, Italy are hoping to return to the top of the podium, a position they had become accustomed to, particularly in the 1990's.
More Italy squad
Pic: Italy collect another silver medal behind Brazil - this time at the Olympics
Brazil prepare to defend title
April 18, 2005 - Brazilian coach Bernardo Rezende has announced that his squad for the 2005 World League will gather at the Volleyball Development Center in Rio de Janeiro on April 25 to start preparing for the defence of their title. The Olympic and world champions are red hot favourites to take their third successive World League title and fourth in five years, and Bernardinho will no doubt leave no stone unturned in his quest to keep Brazil’s magic form – which has seen them win every men’s international Volleyball title available since 2002 – running. More Brazil squad
Pic: Brazil on the winner's podium in Rome last year
Cuba announces players for the World League
Havana, April 4, 2005 - The Cuban Volleyball Federation announced the names of the 18 players selected to play this year in the World League, the FIVB premier annual men’s event. The group is led by middle-blocker Pavel Pimienta and opposite Tomas Aldazabal the two players with most participation in the World League. Setter Javier Gonzalez, Raydel Poey and Yasser Portuondo are also included in the squad. The group in completed by Osmani Juantorena, Henry Bell, Odelis Dominico, Jesus Cruz, Osmani Camejo, Roberlandis Simon, Yoandry Diaz, Oriol Camejo, Raidel Corrales, Maikel Sanchez, Sirianis Mendez and Jorge Luis Sanchez. More
Pic: Cuba's Pavel Pimienta (No 8) once again leads from the front
Cuba to visit three countries for World League build up 
Havana, Cuba, April 3, 2005 - The Cuban male Volleyball team, officially named on Thursday, will make a training tour of Russia, Argentina and Greece before it enters the 2005 World League. An 18-player training selection, from which 12 players will be chosen to play the World League, will depart for Russia on April 16, where they will train until April 30. More
Pic: Cuba's Yenry Bell attacks against Italy during the 2004 World League

Argentina confirm World League line up
March 7, 2005 - The coach of the Argentine national men's team Fabian Armoa has confirmed his first list of 22 players summoned for the 2005 World League, which starts on May 27. Later this month the list will be reduced to 18 players. Of the 22 called players, 15 are playing in the Argentine National League - including Cao Herrera, a Cuban but with Argentine citizenship, playing for Conarpesa - while the others are playing in foreign country leagues. More
Pic: Argentina's Jorge Alberto Elgueta
attacks against Greece in the 2004 Olympic Games where the South Americans played so well  

Montali reveals World League squad for 2005
March 1, 2005 – Last year’s World League and Olympic Games runner’s up Italy have unveiled their 22-strong squad for the 2005 edition of the World League, which starts May 27. Coach Gian Paolo Montali has included the usual stars namely Alessandro Fei, Matej Cernic and Luigi Mastrangelo while Marco Meoni returns after a year out. Missing are Andrea Giani, Samuele Papi, who is on a year’s sabbatical, Andrea Sartoretti and Damiano Pippi. More Pic: Italy's Luigi Mastrangelo in action during the 2004 World League final
Poland name World League squad

February 19, 2005 – New Poland coach Raula Lozano has named his 22-strong squad for the 2005 World League. Poland finished third in Pool B of last year’s World League behind last year’s finalists Bulgaria and France and after an impressive fifth place finish at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Lozano will be hoping to build upon the momentum, with a solid World League performance before World Championship commitments later in the year. More Pic: Great defence from Poland at the 2004 Olympic Games
Argentina coach heads for sight seeing tour of Europe
February 15, 2005 - Argentina men’s coach Fabian Armoa leaves on Monday (Feb 21) for a whirlwind week-long trip through Europe to catch up with his star players ahead of an all-important 2005 calendar, which includes World Championship and World League assignments. More
France name squad
February 11, 2005 - French coach Philippe Blain has named his 22-strong squad for the 2005 World League competition pointing out that the young players in his new line-up will hold the destiny of French Volleyball in their hands. Blain is hoping to use the 2005 World League to blood some new players and launch a new era in French Volleyball. More Pic: French captain Dominique Daquin celebrates during last year's Olympic Games in Athens

Portugal welcomes new men’s coach
Porto, Portugal, February 3, 2005. Cuba’s Gladston Orlando Samuels Blackwood, the newly appointed coach of the Portuguese men’s national team, arrived in Portugal on Wednesday. Samuels, who succeeded fellow national Juan Diaz who is now working in Qatar, admitted his main objectives in 2005 are to see Portugal succeed in the Senior European Championship, the 2006 World Championships as well as the World League. More
World League the key to French future
January 20, 2005 - French coach Philippe Blain has signalled out the 2005 World League competition as his side's most important event this year, with his team looking for ideal preparation ahead of a World Championship Third Round assignment in July. Blain, who led the Blues to a surprise bronze medal finish at the last World Championships in Argentina in 2002, believes he has the makings of a very strong team in 2005 and says this year's World League competition, which takes place from May 27 to July 10, will be the ideal platform for his team to start to hit their straps. "The World League is the best chance for the younger players to gain valuable experience and it will also give us an ideal preparation opportunity ahead of the third round of the World Championship, which we have a few weeks later," Blain said. "Our pool in the World League is very difficult even if, like the Blues, the other teams participating have been forced to make changes and modify their squads." More Pic: French coach Philippe Blain
Successful 12-team formula reintroduced for the 2005 edition
Lausanne, Switzerland, October 27, 2004 - Twelve of the best international men's Volleyball teams have been confirmed and fulfill the conditions to participate in the 2005 World League, the FIVB's major men's Volleyball annual competition. This year's teams- Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, Japan, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria, France, Serbia & Montenegro, Greece, and Poland- will begin the Intercontinental round on May 27, 2005 and for the next six weeks will continue their pursuit for a place in the coveted finals in Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro July 8-10 with the final four teams playing in a 3-day tournament. More Pic: Brazil (green and yellow) and Italy contest the final of the 2004 World League in Rome
What happened in 2004?
Golden performance from Brazil claims third title in four years
Rome, Italy, July 18, 2004 – Brazil defended their World League title with an amazing display of vintage Volleyball to storm to a 3-1 (27-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-17) victory in a wonderful final over courageous Italy in the Palalottomatica in Rome, Italy. More Pic: Brazil celebrate the defense of their 2003 title Results Spanish German Photos

Bronze for Serbia and Montenegro in Balkan battle
Rome, Italy, July 18, 2004 – Olympic champions Serbia and Montenegro started slowly but warmed up to a hard fought straight sets win over their Balkan neighbours Bulgaria to claim the 2004 World League bronze medal. More Pic: Timeout for Serbia and Montenegro

Rome, Italy, July 17, 2004 – Italy and Brazil storm into final  Sp
Rome, Italy, July 17, 2004 – Brilliant Brazil too clinical in superb semifinal
Rome, Italy, July 17, 2004 –
Italy book spot in final with ruthless display
Rome, Italy, July 16, 2004 – Italy and Brazil set early pace
Rome, Italy, July 15, 2004 –
What the coaches say