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21-07-2013

RUSSIA BECOME THREE-TIME FIVB WORLD LEAGUE CHAMPION

Russian celebration in Mar del Plata

Mar del Plata, July 21, 2013 — The FIVB World League finals are over after a very exciting five days of intensive games — most decided at tie-breakers among the best six teams of the World. The best four teams were the same that finished on the four top places at London Olympic Games 2013 confirming their leadership over all other teams of the World at the present moment.

Russia won its third Gold Medal, followed by Brazil with the Silver completing the podium, Italy obtained the Bronze Medal while Bulgaria finished repeating their best ever World League ranked place, the fourth (five times and second year in a row) at the preimere FIVB World competition for National Men Teams.

The Olympic champions and world No. 2 Russia defeated Brazil 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-19) to claim their third World League title and second in three years in the Estadio Islas Malvinas on Sunday.

The result was a repeat of the Olympic Games final when Russia beat Brazil, that time in five sets, and they have now beaten Brazil three times in succession for only the second time ever.

Russia, who previously won the World League title in 2002 and 2011 beating Brazil on both occasions 3-1 and 3-2 respectively, becomes the second country to win the World League title immediately after becoming Olympic champions after Brazil did it 1993 and 2005. It’s Russia’s 14th World League medal — three gold, five silver, six bronze — while Brazil remain the most successful country having nine titles, four silver and four bronze to their name.

It was the first time world champions Brazil, who last the World League title in 2010, had lost in straight sets since suffering to a similar score line during last year’s Finals against Cuba.

On the first match of the day, world No 3 Italy repeated their London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medal result by beating Bulgaria 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 15-7) in the playoff for third at the FIVB Volleyball World League Finals on Sunday.

Italy, the second-equal most successful team in the World League, won their third bronze medal and 14th in total in 23 editions, equal with Russia who will win their 14th medal in the final against Brazil, and three behind Brazil, who will have 17 to their name.

Italy had the recent metal over Bulgaria having won two on the bounce, including Thursday’s pool play match.

Press Conferences:

Alexey Spiridinov says 'every point was made of gold' as Russia overwhelmed Brazil 3-0 in the final match of the 2013 World League Finals.

"I can't explain this feeling, this is the second time I won a World League, and it is a win not only for my team, but also for my country."

"I never imagined that we would win 3-0 against Brazil and that the match wouldn't be difficult. It was expected to be a big and exhausting fight because the rivals were the Brazilians."

"Every point was made of gold, every ball was difficult. We won the finals and we deserve it."

Spiridinov's coach Andrey Voronkov was more controlled in his assessment.

"We are very happy with this gold medal. We went step by step towards the finals. It was a difficult tournament for us, so our happiness is huge."

"I think, at the moment, not all the Brazilian players are in their highest level, that was the reason why we could win easily."

Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende believed the occasion got to some of the younger, inexperienced players and his team, but was quick to credit Russia's performance.

"Russia played really well and the emotions played against us. It was the first final match for many players so it was normal. We couldn't manage the difficult moments and they had a high-level performance in all aspects of the game, but mostly Russia worked their defensive system very well."

"Russia is a 'player factory'. We have good players [in Brazil] but they are better. Alongside that, we lost important players for this World League, and I think the Russians are the best in the world at the moment."

Young Italian star Luca Vettori was the star as Italy claimed its first World League medal since 2004 with a 3-2 win against Bulgaria at the 2013 World League Finals.

Vettori, the youngest member in Italy's finals squad, was a late replacement for injured captain Cristian Savani and was the match's top scorer with an impressive 29-point total.

"I feel very good. I was a bit surprised [to play] because yesterday I didn't, but today I played a wonderful match. I didn't expect this so to do very good is surprising."

"It's incredible our victory and right now I'm really happy to have fun with my friends, my team."

Despite the late call and the match's importance, the 22-year-old said he wasn't nervous. "In the championship in Italy, I entered many times this way, so this sensation is normal."

"Yesterday [in the semifinal] we wanted to arrive in the first place for the gold medal, but today, we wanted to win today. The team right now are similar in height and spiking, but there is something else we have - and the specialty is the heart and the desire to do more than the other teams."

"We are a young team and there are many prospects among us, so at the [2013] European Championships we hope that we'll do better than third place."

Tsvetan Sokolov says the unexpected appearance of young Italian wing spiker Luca Vettori was the difference as Bulgaria failed to win a World League bronze medal match for the fifth time.

Vettori, was a late injury replacement for Italy captain Cristian Savani and was the match's top scorer with 29 points.

He also mentioned: "We were surprised because of Vettori, he went to the court and we couldn't manage any way to stop him."

Sokolov also felt that Bulgaria lost confidence as the tournament progressed.

"The first match against Argentina was very good, then we stopped to believe completely in our ability. For example, against Italy [in the pool stage] the match changed completely because we didn't believe."

"We need to improve, mostly in the easy balls, avoiding unforced errors."

The 23-year-old opposite spiker was also unsatisfied with his own performances in Mar del Plata.

"I'm not happy with what I have done in this final six, because I started well, but then I don't know exactly what changed. I think I wanted to help in doing more than I was able to do, this was my big mistake - doing more than I was able to do."

"I need to improve myself with this experience, because when I will be under pressure again I need to be more calm, taking care just about my ball."

Sttatistics: 3rd place ITA-BUL P2 - P3 | Final RUS-BRA P2 - P3

FIVB World League Finals:
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