Stars of World League Group 2 promise exciting season

Lausanne, Switzerland, May 17, 2017 - As in 2016, twelve teams are on the line for the 2017 FIVB World League Group 2, as they seek the gold medal in the Final Four – taking place on June 24-25 in Australia’s Gold Coast.

Seven European teams will slug it out with one African squad and four Asian sides in this year’s Group 2.

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Turkey are one of the teams heading the European contingent, with their top gunners Serhat Coskun, Gokhan Gokgoz and Baturalp Burak Gungor spearheading their offence.

They are closely trailed by the Netherlands and Finland, which are bannered by tall and talented players like Dutch opposite Wouter Ter Maat and Finnish outside spiker Olli-Peka Ojansivu.

Freshly promoted Slovenia who continued from a brilliant 2015 season to top Group 3 in 2016 under coach Andrea Giani, will be trying their luck with even stronger opponents. Giani moved over to coach Germany this year (who Slovenia brought down last year in the Group 3 final), but Serbian legend Slobodan Kovac has stepped up to take charge of the Slovenian team this year.

Kovac’s arsenal includes all the great stars, Tine Urnaut, Klemen Cebulj and Mitja Gasparini, who shone abroad during the club season.

Amongst the remaining European sides, VfB Friedrichshafen’s opposite Michal Finger will spearhead the Czech Republic and Calzedonia Verona’s outside hitter Alex Ferreira will lead Portugal, while GKS Katowice’s middle blocker Emanuel Kohut will show the way for Slovakia.

As the only African squad in the group, Egypt will rely on top players like 2015 FIVB Volleyball World Cup top scorer Ahmed Abdelhay, paired with Ahmed Elkotb on offence.

Of the Asian sides in Group 2, Australia will seek a return to Group 1 capitalising on their home advantage when they host the Group 2 finals.

Towering opposite and captain Paul Carroll will head Australia after distinguishing himself, together with libero Luke Perry, during the club season with Berlin Recycling Volleys both in the Bundesliga and the European Champions League.

Under new leadership on the bench after Argentina’s Raul Lozano was appointed head coach, China field a mix of new talent and experienced stars in their roster, including opposite Jiang Chuan and outside hitter Liu Libin who were on the Dream Team of last year’s Asian Cup in Thailand.

Japan also have a new head coach, in Yuichi Nakagaichi, as the team embarks on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where they are assured of a berth as hosts. Included in their 2017 World League lineup are Haku Ri, Yuji Suzuki, Naonobu Fujii and Satoshi Ide from the V.Premier League side of Toray Arrows who won the championship title this season. They will be guided by captain Hideomi Fukatsu, Best Setter of the 2015 Asian Championship in Tehran.

And Korea will be relying on their middle blocker duo of captain Lee Sun-Kyu and Shin Yung-Suk to see them try and better their 23rd place of last year.

World League Group 3 to follow.


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