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Brazil and Serbia & Montenegro put the pressure on: a fantastic evening!

Belgrade, Serbie and Montenegro, July 9, 2005 – Not a minute passes by when the Final Round of the 2005 World League continues with an explosion of applauses to the winners of the day! And with incredible TV coverage: no less than 25 different international TV Channels were interested to show on Saturday evening the two “semi-finals presented by the FIVB”. After Poland had beaten Cuba (3-2) on Friday and Brazil had defeated the hosts Serbia and Montenegro (3-1), Belgrade offered on Saturday evening a fantastic Volleyball show to the whole world! Brazil beat Cuba 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 22-25, 25-23) and Serbia and Montenegro defeated Poland (24-26, 19-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-8). High level Volleyball, incredible suspense in the Beogradska Arena, passion and tension! Belgrade is really celebrating with all the heart of Serbia and Montenegro the great event of the 2005 World League. And this with fair play and positive spirit.

Early in the evening, Olympic and world champions Brazil did not give any chances to the young and athletic Cuban team. The coordination and the determination of the Brazilian team made the difference and gave the Boys from Brazil a wonderful platform to show - once more - what a close team they are. Brazil put an enormous amount of pressure on Cuba whose smashes were often blocked. After Brazil won the two first sets, Cuba made a come back. They started to play much more closely together and to build their game better than in the previous sets. They took a temporary advantage by winning the third set but Brazil clearly showed their will to finish the match and closed out in the latch in the fourth set. But the Cuban resistance was very strong until the decisive minute. What a fantastic match! “Congratulations to the team of Cuba because they played very well and played extremely well in reception. I must say they form a strong team. On our side I think we cannot change anything until tomorrow. We must just relax and be ready at the right time”, said captain Ricardo Garcia after the victory of his team.

A wonderful come back

But the evening was not over… Serbia and Montenegro realized a fantastic come back, after having suffered during two sets against Poland. Poland, ranked 7th in the world, created a very good impression since the beginning of this 2005 World League. In the stands, a colourful group of fans was supporting their team. A majority of the public was of course on the side of the team of Serbia and Montenegro (world number three) who overcame some early difficulties before finding their true form, maybe because the team was feeling a certain pressure on itself. In the second set, the team of head coach Ljubomir Travica was surprised often by the incredible spikes of Poland. It was in the third set when the Serbian players created a constructive and successful game, with the strong will not to lose the match. The public of Belgrade became totally crazy! Time out.. tied match… Suspense!

In the last set, the giant support of the public – most of the time standing and whistling - helped Serbia and Montenegro to go on this way. The local team showed a real determination to win the match and offered some spectacular displays of Volleyball while Poland tried to come back. Too late: 15-8! Serbia and Montenegro had it. During the match, the captain of SCG, Nikola Grbic, was slighty injured.
After the match, Poland coach Raul Lozano declared: “I’m very sad. The team played very well but couldn’t win in the end… I want to congratulate the team of Serbia and Montenegro for this success.” Extremely sad was the Polish captain Piotr Gruszka: “We have now to think about tomorrow: it will be a very important match, of course...”

The winners are now very careful: “For tomorrow, we will try all what is possible in front of Brazil. In a Final, anything is possible,” said Travica.

Fantastic TV Coverage!

"We are very proud that no less than 25 different international TV channels were interested today to show the two “semi-finals presented by FIVB. It shows how much the popularity of Volleyball is increasing and how this wonderful sport can bring people together”, declared Dr Acosta, FIVB President, after the two matches of the day.

To give a media update, full match coverage could be secured by some of the world's largest TV networks transmitting both semi-final matches to a global audience. "Doordarshan Sport India, M-Net Supersport Africa, FOX Sports Middle East and Al-Jazeera Sport are only a few big names out of 25 (!) TV stations confirmed for the "semi-finals presented by FIVB," said Mario Kochwalter, FIVB WL TV Coordinator responsible for the international television coverage today in Belgrade.

The FIVB TV Coordination Agency was also represented by Mr Othmar Valzacchi, General Manager of Sports TV Media Distribution, who highlighted that the provided FIVB live commentary by Mr Paul Sunderland is transmitted by 8 different TV channels mainly in Africa and Asia. "You can imagine that in addition to the 12 participating countries of the World League there is a big demand for Volleyball in all countries all over the world, every second TV station confirmed for Saturday’s matches are not Host TV Broadcasters (there are 12 HTVBs) of World League but other additional FIVB TV rights holders.

The world feed with English graphics and full English live commentary for these deciding matches was available on four different satellites provided by the European Broadcasting Union. TV live commentators presenting the great live action in 11 different languages!

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