Córdoba / Boca del Río, Mexico, July 13, 2017- Strong and talented teams are set for actions at the 19th edition of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship, to be staged in the cities of Córdoba and Boca del Río, Mexico from July 14 to 23.
The biennial event features sixteen teams divided in four groups for the three day round-robin matches, taking place in both cities. The winners and the runners-up will move to Cordoba to continue their road into the finals, while the rest will compete in placing matches in Boca del Rio.
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Arena Córdoba, Córdoba
Córdoba will host pool A consisting of Russia, Mexico, Egypt and Bulgaria; and pool B of Dominican Republic, Peru, China and Poland.
Dominican Republic is the reigning champion and qualified to this year’s world championship by winning the 2016 NORCECA Continental Championship. Poland and Russia won through the CEV European Qualifiers, topping their respective pools.
China, the Asian Women’s U19 title holders, has a team with an average height of 1.86m. China has won the U20 World Championship on two occasions. While, Egypt enters the competition as the African champions, the most successful team in their continent with six crowns in a row.
Bulgaria and Peru qualified to worlds through FIVB ranking. In the past edition, Bulgaria finished eighth place and Peru in sixth.
Finally, host Mexico is rebuilding their team’s level in order to recover international exposure and are counting on their crowd’s support to qualify into the second round.
Dimo Tonev, coach of Bulgaria: “We are very glad to be here and to play with the best teams in the world. The preparation was little but I believe that at this age-group all the teams have the same situation. These players have to distribute their time in many other occupations. My team is ready to perform with their best volleyball at the moment”.
Vadim Pankov, coach of Russia: “The most competitive and powerful teams in the world are here and we are well prepared. We have been training for a long period of time; we know some of our opponents here. I plan on using visual and other statistic materials to prepare before each match”.
Nour Attia, coach of Egypt: “This is the girls’ first major international competition at this age-group, but we are going to do our best. We will do our best to finish second because we believe that facing Mexico will not be easy; besides it is our opening match in the tournament and we expect it to be tough and stressful”.
Luis Alberto Leon, coach of Mexico: “We are ready to fight strong to reach the second round; we held a training camp in Monterrey for a month and we arrived eight days ago here in Cordoba. Obviously our fans will play an important role for us”.Pool B
Wagner Pacheco, coach of Dominican Republic: “The emotional factor will be crucial in this event. Our game plan has been renovated, the players are mostly U18; this is a new generation. I do not think as if we are defending the title because this is a whole different tournament with different players. We have our minds set in one match at a time. Our pool is very balanced, maybe with China standing out as one of the world’s top ranked; the team with the most patience will move on”.
Marco Queiroga, coach of Peru: “We’ve been preparing in Europe for the past thirty days; we played twenty seven matches with both our junior and youth teams. The preparation was intense, with hard work. I am pleased because the girls are performing with more confidence; we hope to qualify to the next phase”.
Shen Mang, coach of China: “My team is well prepared, the group is strong. China always stands out in every competition and as the tournament develops we can establish the best strategy to face our opponents”.
Wieslaw Popik, coach of Poland: “We are coming to battle strong and we are aiming to be in the first eight, from there forward we will have our strategy set on winning a medal. Winning the qualification tournament was a huge success; it has been a long two year road to be in this competition. The team is in good shape, we have been working hard and so far there are no injured players. We want to enjoy the tournament”.Arena Veracruz, Boca del Río
Pool C and D will play at the Arena Veracruz in Boca del Rio. Pool C includes Brazil, Serbia, Cuba and United States; and pool D is composed by Japan, Italy, Turkey and Argentina.
Brazil’s unprecedented success in the U20 world championships makes them one of the world’s volleyball forces. They are the U20 South American champions and have won six world championships overall. In last year’s edition they lost the championship match in a five-set thriller to Dominican Republic.
Japan is the Asian Women’s U20 runner-up and has excelled with tenacity, hard work and discipline. United States comes as winner of the 2017 Pan American Cup, where Argentina also booked their ticket as the top ranked South American, putting an end to a sixteen year drought at the U20 world championship.
Turkey, Italy, Serbia and Cuba complete the list, earning their place through the FIVB ranking. Italy won the bronze medal in 2015.Pool C
Hairton Cabral, coach of Brazil: “This is a difficult competition and we expect a good result. My team is renovated and our preparation was in Rio de Janeiro at our training centre and in Sao Paulo where we played friendly matches with clubs from Brazil’s Superliga and with the polish team that is competing in World Grand Prix”.
Boricic Marijana, coach of Serbia: “The team did not have enough friendly matches before coming here. We came in the competition from the FIVB’s long list. The team just finished a Vulcan championship that consists of South Eastern Europe countries, which still is not enough. We have been training for four weeks and I really hope for the best. After the first matches I will establish a more realistic game plan. Our group is really tough, maybe the toughest in the world championship”.
Wilfredo Robinson, coach of Cuba: “Cuba has all the necessary tools required for this event. The team is highly motivated, the girls really wanted to be here and our group is definitely really tough. We are setting a new strategy because two of our starting players are not here. Cuba expects to play with intelligence, high balls and try to reach the final eight”.
Laurie Corbelli, coach of United States: “Our program in the United States is different from others, I do not know the whole team and we have a new staff on this occasion, we are all trying to get to know each other so it is hard to predict any outcome. Some of the players have international experience; others have only played at college level, so we are focusing on the international exposure as these players move forward in our program”.Pool D
Mustafa Suphi Doganci, coach of Turkey: “Turkey had one month of preparation and we are ready to perform. Our strategy is to beat a minimum of two teams, but mostly go one step at a time. Turkey and Italy played friendly matches; we know each other well and we are aware of their strong level. We predict good matches.
Guillermo Caceres, coach of Argentina: “This is a demanding competition; we expect very good performances from all the teams here. Our main focus is on prevailing at least in three matches to qualify for the next round. My group needs consistency”.
Luca Cristofani, coach of Italy: “Our team is very young, with starting players born in the year 2000; we are missing one of our strongest players, she was called to our senior team. The team is performing well, our preparation period was very good, and mostly in Milan at our training centre; we even played friendly matches against Dominican Republic. I like the way we are playing. Italy is coming to win experience”.
Kiyoshi Abo, coach of Japan: “The players have a good physical condition, based on hard preparation and statistics. Our opponents in the first round are tough teams to face. I have four key players from which we expect a top performance”.