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19-07-2013

FIVB WORLD LEAGUE FINALS: THE BEST FOUR ALREADY IN SEMI-FINALS

Mar del Plata crowded stadium at the third date

Mar del Plata, Argentina, July 19, 2013 — After the third day results, the semi-final of the FIVB World League 2013 will face first Italy v Russia while on the second match Brazil will face Bulgaria. Canada and Argentina were eliminated.

Nine time FIVB Volleyball World League champions Brazil booked a World League semifinal spot for the 18th time in 24 editions - including 14 of the last 15 — after beating Canada 3-0 (25-18, 30-28, 25-20) in the last Pool E match on Friday.

Having lost to Russia in five sets on Wednesday, Brazil needed to win the game and that they did, maintaining their impressive record against Canada which includes 17 wins from 21 matches, including 13 out of 16 in the World League and four on the bounce.

The win sees Brazil top Pool E, with Russia finishing second while Canada’s dream World League run which had seen them on a record seven-match World League winning streak going into the Brazilian match come to an end in their first ever appearance in the World League Finals.

On the second match of the evening, World No. three Italy beat hosts Argentina, ranked ninth in the world, with a well worked 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 25-17, 25-22) victory in the last game in Pool D to win the group and set up a sem-ifinal match with Russia on Saturday.

Italy were hot favourites going into the game having won nine of the previous 14 World League matches against Argentina although the South American country did have history, having won the last World League encounter at the 2011 Finals.

But this counted for very little as the 2013 World League’s top scorer Ivan Zaytsev and Co went to work quickly.

Press Conferences:

Wallace was Brazil's top scorer with 18 points in their 3-0 win against Canada in the final round of pool play at the 2013 World League Finals.

A swollen left knee forced Leandro Vissotto out of the Brazil team for their must-win match and Wallace proved an able replacement.

"It's not the first time I entered like this in a championship, Leandro injured himself in the Olympics. I have to be prepared; this is my mentality, to be prepared for anything that happens."

"Unfortunately he is injured, and I have to always be willing to substitute him and do a good job - it doesn't affect my confidence. When he returns [from injury] we will fight again [for a team place], but against him it's always difficult."

Canada posed a significant threat to Brazil's chances of reaching the semifinals after beating Olympic champions Russia, and Wallace said there was plenty of respect for them among his teammates.

"They're always difficult to play, in the World League last year we lost to them - there aren't easy teams to play in this World League."

With a 3-1 victory against home team Argentina in the final pool round, captain Cristian Savani has led Italy into the World League final-four for the first time since 2004.

"I'm very happy, because we achieved this result with a new group that after the [2012] Olympic Games changed a lot. Many of the players in this team wouldn't have thought we could achieve this."

"Now we play against Russia [in the semifinal], the same team that we met in the Intercontinental Round. They won one match and we won the other one."

"We have to focus only on our attitude, and think what we can do against Russia, who will be a very tough opponent. Watching the other matches [in this tournament], we have not seen good volleyball, but who wins is the team who believes more."

Challenge system new in Volleyball:

Apart from the matches Russia became the first team to use the challenge system at the World League Finals during the first set of their surprise 3-2 pool defeat against Canada on day two of competition.

The first challenge request came on a Nikolay Apalikov serve called long on Canada's backline, with Russia leading the set 11-8.

The second referee Juraj Mokry consulted the challenge system at the side of the court, saw the ball had touched the backline and overruled the original decision, awarding the point to Russia instead of Canada.

Italy and Bulgaria also successfully used the challenge system in consecutive points in the Azzurri's 3-1 win in day two's second match, and Italy's three-time World League winner Andrea Zorzi thinks the reviews are a positive move for the sport

"It is good because it's fast and not complicated," he said. "The system is pretty simple and not so complicated to set up. It's reliable and the process to check what happened is fast. The second referee, in just a few seconds can go and ask about the challenge from a TV perspective."

"The possibility to see what's going on is exciting because you feel involved. With this system we are diminishing the area of the unknown [in volleyball]."

Making its debut in the World League Finals, the challenge system allows teams to call for video verification of a referee's decision twice per set. If a challenge results in a change of decision, the challenging team receive the point and maintain their full quota of challenges.

Statistics: BRA-CAN P2 - P3 | ARG-ITA P2 - P3

FIVB World League Finals:
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