Clash of champions highlights second week of World League


Top scorers Evandro Guerra of Brazil and Dawid Konarski will face off in the clash of champions on the second week of the FIVB Volleyball World League

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 6, 2017 – Another set of exciting match-ups will highlight the second week of preliminary round of the FIVB Volleyball World League, featuring Olympic champions Brazil and world champions Poland.

The two squads faced each other in the opening weekend, with Poland causing a scintillating 3-2 win over Brazil. However, the Brazilians will have their chance to take revenge in Varna, Bulgaria on Saturday, June 10.

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The battle of champions will also highlight the face-off of two top scorers – Brazil’s Evandro Guerra and Poland’s Dawid Konarski. Evandro emerged as the top scorer in Group 1, racking a total of 68 points in three matches; while Konarski is the fourth best scorer with 57 points. The clash also sees world-class playmakers Bruno Rezende and Fabian Drzyzga going head to head.

“We had a tough opening weekend, but we are growing as a team,” Bruno said. “We will be stronger in the coming matches and obviously want to win against Poland.”

Both teams have two wins under their name. However, Brazil are already guaranteed a place in the final round at the Estadio Atletico Paranense in Curitiba from July 4 to 8, but Poland must earn one of the available five tickets.

Brazil and Poland will also face Canada and hosts Bulgaria with their superstar Tsvetan Sokolov, who is the second best scorer in the group with 60 points.

With two wins on the opening weekend, newly-promoted Canada led by top scorer John Gordon Perrin and setter Tyler Sanders, are one of the many surprises of the competition. Their match-up with Poland, however, will bring a lot of emotions as their new coach Stephane Antiga will face his former team on Sunday, June 11. Antiga coached Poland until the end of the Olympic season and was the main proponent in their world championship home victory in 2014.

World League 2015 winners and reigning European champions France are the only team that picked up three victories in the opening weekend. The team will now have home advantage in Pau, where they will host Italy, Russia and the United States.

The French team will rely on Julien Lyneel, who has been superb in the first week as the most effective spiker and server in Group 1.

Russia, Italy and USA are all in a tight situation, as Russia and Italy have only registered one win in the tournament, while USA remain winless and languishing in last place in Group 1.

“The only way to get better is to play under stress,” USA coach John Speraw said. “We learned a lot here and we’ll see if we can make the most of it over the next couple of weeks.

Serbia coach Nikola Grbic is in a far better situation, as he has led his team to record two victories and is thus well placed to reach the final round and successfully defend their World League title.

“We have a long journey and very tough matches but we will fight, I can promise you that,” Grbic said.

Their opponents in the preliminary round tournament in Tehran are hosts Iran, Argentina and Belgium.

Belgium coach Vital Heynen’s team produced a shock 3-0 win over Serbia. The defending champions now have a chance to take revenge. Before committing to his native Belgium, Heynen led the German team to a sensational bronze medal win at the 2014 World Championship. The German team is currently playing its volleyball in Group 3 and is aiming to earn promotion to Group 2.

After picking up three wins, the Germans now move on to the decisive preliminary round weekend, after which three teams will be confirmed to join hosts Mexico in the final four in Leon from June 16 to 18.

Germany, which now banners new coach Andrea Giani, faces a stern test. Their opponents in Linz will be hosts Austria, Mexico and undefeated Spain. Germany will be counting on stars Christian Fromm and Tim Broshog – the top blocker in all groups in the World League.

World League

In other preliminary round matches in Tunis and Tallinn, host Tunisia and Estonia, both of which started their World League campaigns with two victories, also have a good chance of reaching the final round.

The teams in Group 2 are set for the second of three preliminary round weekends. The action kicks off on Thursday in Helsinki, with the clash between Australia and China, and hosts Finland taking on Slovenia.

Slovakia had three wins, as do the European Championship runners-up Slovenia and Turkey. These two teams go head to head on Sunday at the tournament in Takasaki, Japan.

Turkey will be looking for another big performance from its star Metin Toy, who is currently the top scorer in Group 2. In Ceske Budejovice, hosts Czech Republic will face Egypt, the Netherlands and Portugal.

In Group 2, four teams will contest the final round on Australia’s Gold Coast on June 24 and 25. Australia, which came down from Group 1 last year are already guaranteed a place in the final round.


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