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Cuba, Brazil and Poland all confirmed to join Serbia and Montenegro in World League final round

Lausanne, Switzerland, July 3, 2005 – After six weeks, 72 matches and over 130 hours of pulsating Volleyball action the four finalists for the 2005 World League have been confirmed at the conclusion of the Intercontinental Round on Sunday with defending champions Brazil, Cuba and Poland joining hosts Serbia and Montenegro in the final round in Belgrade.

The commitment and passion shown by all 12 teams during the six weeks of global action had fans around the world on the edge of their seats, with two of the three pools not confirming their winner until the last weekend.

World number one Brazil confirmed their final round spot in Pool A during week five but it was Cuba in Pool B and Poland in Pool C who left it until the last minute to seal their places.
Pic: Great defence from Cuba's Speek Odelvis Dominico (left) and Portuondo Osmany Juantorena against France's Vincent Montmeat
Poland didn’t actually have to touch a ball to find out they had reached the finals for only the second time in eight attempts after their nearest challengers Greece lost their opening match to Serbia and Montenegro on Friday 3-0 (27-25, 25-22, 25-17). Greece actually lost the second match as well 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 27-25) to finish in third place behind Poland, who beat Argentina twice 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-20) and 3-2 (25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 20-25, 15-10) and Serbia and Montenegro, who look in ominous form ahead of the finals.

In Pool B, Italy’s opening 3-1 (30-32, 25-17, 25-23, 25-21) loss in Bulgaria on Friday opened the door to Cuba, who gratefully strode through and booked their first finals appearance since 2001 with two victories over France 3-0 (33-31, 33-31, 25-12) and 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-21). Italy lost again on Sunday 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-19) but by this stage it was academic.

Olympic champions Brazil had signed and sealed their final round ticket in week five but continued on their impressive form by beating Venezuela 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-21) and 3-1 (25-22, 15-25, 25-22, 25-17) to finished on top of the group with a 11-1 win-loss record. Portugal finished second with a 6-6 record despite being on the receiving end of seeing Japan record their World League victories since 2003. In a huge surprise, Japan beat Portugal 3-2 (18-25, 20-25, 27-25, 26-24, 16-14) and 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 31-29).

The Final Round is now set to go in Belgrade from July 8 where Serbia and Montenegro, Brazil, Cuba and Poland will play in a three-day tournament with a total of six matches.

For this special occasion, the FIVB would like to inform all journalists that a hotel, the Best Western Hotel M" in Belgrade, has been reserved for those wishing to attend and cover the finals of the premier men's annual Volleyball event.

For those wishing to attend, please fill in the accreditation form on the FIVB website and fax or email it to the FIVB Press Department on +41 21 345 35 45 or
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