Curitiba, Brazil, July 6, 2017 – Serbia came to Curitiba for the FIVB Volleyball World League Finals – Group 1 with the challenging task of becoming the first back-to-back champions of the decade. The Europeans' route to the mark is now in jeopardy, however, after they lost 3-1 to the United States
in their first match in Pool K1.
The best opposite of the 2015 World League, Atanasijevic has a special motivation to pursue the title in Curitiba as he was sidelined because of an injury during the Finals last year and was not part of the team that defeated Brazil to win the gold medal in Poland.
“I think I bring them some bad karma”, he joked. “Being in the Finals is a big motivation for me. We will fight until the end and next match is the most important thing for us. It’s to be or not to be. We know how to play this tournament, you play it day-by-day”.
With the United States already assured of a place in the semifinals, heavyweights Serbia and France, who won the World League title in 2015, will face each other in a win or go home match at 17:40 (local time) on Thursday.
“Two years ago, here in Brazil, we also debuted in the Finals with a defeat against Italy,” coach Nikola Grbic said. “We had to beat the reigning world champions Poland to advance and we did it. That’s what I told my players after the match. We lost the first match, but we still have a chance of qualifying and we will fight for it”.
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