Arena Armeec in Sofia is a true volleyball temple in which Bulgaria national team usually gives more than 100% of their abilities. The fans in the country hope for the same in Week 2 of the 2018 FIVB Nations League in which their team will face Serbia, Australia, and Russia in Pool 5.
„First of all, I want to say ’welcome’ to all my colleagues and to wish them good luck not only here but during the whole Volleyball Nations League! I’m happy because the big volleyball is back in Sofia. I hope our great fans will help us during the matches against these strong teams. We will try to please them with good games and wins. All teams have problems with injured players but this didn’t make the teams weaker. I hope my players will show growth after the first tournament in Ningbo and achieve good results!“ Bulgaria head coach Plamen Konstantinov said.
Recall that he does not have the national team best scorer Tsvetan Sokolov at the disposal for both most important tournaments this year, the Nations League and World Championship.
Looking at these four teams, Russia are the best-placed side in the standings after Week 1 with 6 points (2-1).
Goiânia Arena in the Brazilian city Goiânia will be a battlefield of the two best ranked national teams in the world at the moment! The current Olympic champions Brazil, also No.1 in the FIVB Senior World Ranking, will host No.2 USA who was one of the four teams to remain unbeaten in Week 1 (4th in the standings with 8 points). The game between these two powerhouses is scheduled for the last day of the competition in Pool 6, on June 3 at 17:40 C.E.T.
South Korea and Japan will also compete in Goiânia.
„In this type of competition, each game is a final. We need to win to reach the final stage. But, above all, we want to evolve, improve ourselves in every game. Here, we need to adapt to different volleyball schools in a little time. Two Asian teams, Korea and Japan, with much defense and volume of play, and the United States, more similar to Brazil. We arrived and we trained strong,“ Renan Dal Zotto, Brazil head coach, said after yesterday’s training which was held after Brazil had a 30-hour trip back from Serbia and 20 hours of rest.
Good news for the fans of the U.S. national team is the return of three superstars to the roster: Matt Anderson, Micah Christenson, and Aaron Russell. But, unfortunately for them, Taylor Sander had to return to the United States for personal reasons.
Long-distance trips cost South Korea national team missing a connecting flight in Paris. They will arrive in Goiânia a day before their Pool 6 opening match against the hosts Brazil.
Italy will try to keep their invincibility in the 2018 Nations League (third-placed in the standings with 8 points) in Pool 7 in San Juan in which they will meet Canada, Iran, and the home side Argentina.
„We must continue on this path and try to collect as many victories as possible. It will be important to never lower the intensity of our level of play because in such a long and demanding event the opponents are always there ready to take advantage of any false steps. They are all teams that have had the same gaming system for years and know each other very well. There are no simple opponents,“ Italy outside hitter Luigi Randazzo stated.
For the second week in a row, Poland will host one of the tournaments. After Kraków and Katowice who organized Pool 3 games, Atlas Arena in Łódź will be the venue of Pool 8. And in it, two of the four undefeated sides so far will face each other – the hosts (first-placed) and France (second-placed)! Both pulled off a maximum of 9 points from Week 1. The game is scheduled on Day 1 (June 1, at 16:00 C.E.T.).
„I know Germany a bit and China not very well, but before the press conference I said to my players: we cannot make one mistake – we cannot think about the tournament, we just have to play game by game, like we did last weekend. From the beginning, I was saying that we are here to get better as a team, to give players their chances and it’s not going to change. We will play with new line-ups and new players, many players will get their chance to play, but it’s always a combination, because I’m giving guys a chance to play, but I also want and like to win. I think I never played a game in Lodz before, so I’m unbeaten here and it’s a good sign, I think (laugh). Atlas Arena is a great venue and I hope that many people will come to support the team thanks to good results from the last weekend,“ Poland head coach Vital Heynen said.
Since his country will organize the Final Six, France head coach Laurent Tillie can afford to combine the squad for each week of the tournament. Unlike Week 1 in Rouen, the „Team Yavbou“ will play in Week 2 without these players: Benjamin Toniutti, Jenia Grebennikov, Earvin Ngapeth and Jonas Aguenier. They are replaced by Raphaël Corre, Yacine Louati, Franck Lafitte and Trévor Clévenot.
The other two teams in the pool are China and Germany.
To see complete results, stats, and standings, visit our FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2018 / Male / Seniors page.
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