14. 06. 2018

VNL M: Final 6 deadline is approaching - Italy without Giannelli in Seoul, Brazil without Maurício Souza in Varna

Source: Photo: fivb.org

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The penultimate Week 4 of the 2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League will bring tête-à-tête duels of the top four teams in the overall rankings as the tournament approaches a deadline for securing berths in the Final Six in Lille, France.


POOL 13 (Seoul, South Korea)

The schedule for Week 4 went into the favor of Italy who are within reach of qualifying to the Final Six, currently ranked No.7, as they are about to face the three lowest-ranked sides in the tournament. One of these three sides definitely said goodbye to the final tournament - Pool 13 hosts South Korea (last-placed with a 0-9 record and 1 point). As for the remained two squads to compete in the pool, Australia (No.14, 2-7, 6 points) and China (No.15, 2-7, 6 points), their chances for getting the F6 are less than slim.

Italy, who spoiled a perfect start (3-0) in the tournament by suffering three defeats in the last four games will have to deal their rivals in Seoul without starting setter Simone Giannelli (recovers from a hamstring strain which he sustained at Week 3 closing vs. Japan) and outside hitter Oleg Antonov (also injured). Michele Baranowicz and Simone Parodi were summoned to replace these two.

POOL 14 (Ludwigsburg, Germany)

Russia and Germany will face each other for the first time after an exciting 2017 CEV European Championship final. Both teams are still vying for the Final 6 spot but with „Zbornaya“ having an upper hand at the moment as they are No.5 with a 6-3 record and 19 points. Germany are at No.9 with 4-5 and 13 points. It seems that Japan (No.10) and Argentina (No.13) who are also in Pool 14 have lost their chances in the first three weeks of the tournament.  

POOL 15 (Hoffman Estates, United States)

No.1 Poland and the No.4 United States will go head-to-head in Pool 15 in which Serbia aim to secure their berth in the Final Six (currently No.6, 6-3, 15 points) while Iran lurk on the sidelines with a 3-6 record and 9 points (No.11).

„Lately, the outside hitters are on fire. They play fantastic. The absence of Michał Kubiak probably mobilized them because in the last matches they were our driving force. Each of the opposites also showed themselves in a good way and I think we should get used to the fact that whoever enters, imposes himself as a very good competition“ said Poland NT opposite Bartosz Kurek, who did not participate in the Week 3 in Osaka but joined the team in Hoffman Estates for Week 4.

“The new tournament format will be a big test for our team before the 2018 World Championship. We will play in Hoffman Estates after three weekends in other countries, so it will feel good to be in the United States,” the U.S. NT head coach John Speraw said.

All key players, the 2016 Rio Olympics medalists, Matt Anderson, Micah Christenson, Max Holt, Thomas Jaeschke, Aaron Russell, Taylor Sander, David Smith, and Erik and Kawika Shoji, will be at Speraw’s disposal.

POOL 16 (Varna, Bulgaria)

Brazil (No.2) and France (No.3) will play a rerun of the 2017 FIVB World League final while Bulgaria and Canada will try to return to the winning ways after both suffered two defeats in a row.

Brazil’s staying in Bulgaria did not start well. Their middle blocker Maurício Souza sustained the injury of his abdominal muscle on the first training upon arriving in Varna and will miss the rest of the pool stage. Brazil head coach Renan Dal Zotto summoned Éder Carbonera to replace Maurício Souza.

Despite he was carried out on a stretcher in the match against Australia in Week 2 due to his ankle injury, the setter Georgi Bratov has recovered quickly and is at the disposal of Bulgaria head coach Plamen Konstantinov. It means that Dobromir Dimitrov, who stepped in after Bratoev got injured, will fall out of the squad in Week 4. There is also a change in Bulgaria roster when it comes to the middle blockers as Krasimir Georgiev will replace Iliya Petkov.


To see complete results, stats, and standings, visit our FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2018 / Male / Seniors page.


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