seal final Final Round spot
Switzerland, July 11, 2004 – World number 15 Bulgaria
sealed their spot in the 2004 World League Final Round
joining hosts Italy, defending champions Brazil and
Olympic champions Serbia and Montenegro after recording
two wins over Japan in the final round of the
Intercontinental Round, which concluded on Sunday.
Needing nothing less than two victories in Varna on the
final weekend, the Bulgarians showed great concentration
to dismiss Japan, who didn’t win a single match in Pool
B, in straight sets 25-22, 25-17, 25-19 on Saturday and
25-22, 25-19, 25-19 on Sunday.
Pic: Bulgaria were clinical in their two victories
over Japan in the final round
Bulgaria’s closest rivals were France, who won both
their games against Poland 3-1 (22-25, 27-25, 25-22,
27-25) and 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-20) in Katowice to
finish tied on points with Bulgaria, however the
Tricolours’ Set Ratio was inferior.
“We did our job and in Rome we can be only stronger,”
Bulgarian coach Brunko Gavrilov said. “We will face
three of the strongest teams in the world and anything
we do will be a success for us.”
“Today is a beautiful evening for Bulgarian Volleyball,”
Nikolay Ivanov the Bulgarian captain said. “We had some
fluctuation in our play but we made it smooth in the end.
Japan was better than yesterday, but it is the final
result that matters.”
With Pool A and Pool C having confirmed their
representatives in the Final Round in Week 5, the final
weekend of the Intercontinental Round saw both pools
sort out their final order.
In Pool A, world champions Brazil finished on top
unbeaten after beating bottom-placed Portugal 3-0
(25-19, 25-20, 25-23) and 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-19,
25-15) in Porto while Greece claimed second place
despite splitting their matches with Spain in Patras,
winning 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 16-25, 25-14, 15-13) before
losing their last match 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-13,
Last year’s runner’s up Serbia and Montenegro finished
the Intercontinental Round with two victories at home
over Italy 3-1 (26-24, 25-17, 23-25, 25-20) and 3-0
(25-20, 25-16, 25-18) to finish on top of the pool with
only two defeats above Italy and Cuba, who collected two
precious victories over China 3-1 (25-22, 25-19, 20-25,
25-22) and 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-18) in Havana.
Italy, Serbia and Montenegro, Brazil and Bulgaria now
head to Rome for the three-day World League Final Round
which starts on July 16.
Three teams still
in with chance to claim final Final Round spot
Switzerland, July 09, 2004 – Three Pool B teams –
Bulgaria, France and Poland – will fight it out for the
final vacancy in the 2004 World League Final Round when
the sixth and final week of the Intercontinental Round
begins on Friday.
With each pool winner joining hosts Italy in the Final
Round, which starts on July 16 in Rome, defending
champions Brazil and last year’s runner’s up Serbia and
Montenegro confirmed their spots in the final phase in
Week 5 in Pool A and Pool C respectively.
Pic: France and Poland both won one match each (3-2,
2-3) when they played each other in Week 4
But in Pool B, with two matches each to play this
weekend, Bulgaria and France sit level in first place
with seven wins and three defeats while Poland remain in
contention for the top spot with six victories and four
Bulgaria are favourites to progress to the Final Round
due to the fact that this week they host Japan, who have
yet to win a game in the competition,. Bulgaria won
twice in Japan in Week 4 (3-1 and 3-2) and need two more
victories from this weekend’s matches which start at
17:30 GMT on Saturday and on Sunday to secure the top
Meanwhile Poland hosts France with their first game on
Friday at 16.50 GMT and the second match at 13:00 GMT on
Saturday with France needing two victories to put any
pressure on Bulgaria. However, France need Bulgaria to
lose a match to win the pool while Poland need two
victories and hope Bulgaria lose both their matches to
claim the top spot.
The other two pools play out the final weekend with
Greece and Spain playing for second spot in Pool A at
18:00 GMT on Friday and Sunday in Patra while Pool A
winners Brazil travel to Portugal for two games at 16:00
GMT on Saturday and Sunday.
Pool C sees Serbia and Montenegro host Italy in an
exciting duel where both sides still have a chance of
winning the pool. However, since Italy are the hosts of
the Final Round, Serbia and Montenegro have secured
their pass to the next phase. Their matches are at 18:00
GMT on Saturday and Sunday. The other Pool C match sees
Cuba host China in a battle for the minor places at
00:40 GMT on Saturday and Sunday.