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29 June 2014
Bursa, Turkey, June 26, 2014- Everything have become ready to host the first of the 2014 World League finals which will be Group 3 in Bursa, Turkey as hosts beside Cuba, China and Slovakia will compete in semifinal and final phases in the final 4 tournament to be held on June 28 and 29, 2014.
The competition will be hosted in Bursa Cengiz Gollu Volleyball Hall where semifinals on Saturday, will see Cuba take on China at 14.00 local time, while hosts Turkey will play Slovakia at 17.00. The finals will be held on Sunday as the third place match will be played at 14.00 local time between the semifinal losers, before the final for first place at 17.00 between semis winners.
The four participating teams arrived to the competition site where they had their first training sessions on Thursday.
The Group 3 finals bring together the best teams in World League intercontinental round pools F and G. Cuba led Pool F with a win- loss ratio of 5-1 followed by organisers Turkey with 4-2 record. China led Pool F with 5-1 ratio followed by Slovakia who had 3-3 record to join the finals.
"We trying our best to overcome the time difference and defeat the Cuban team in the semifinal as we don't know much about that team," China coach Guochen Xie said after his first training session in Bursa.
"We are well prepared now and our goal is to win the gold medal here. We are not familiar with the Cuban team as we didn't face them for a long time; we want to see their weakness points to beat them." He added.
On the other hand Slovakia coach Flavio Gulinelli feels proud to qualify to the finals and was optimistic to continue showing good volleyball. "We are really happy and proud to be here in the final 4 tournament of Group 3 in this year's World League. We started this competition having a big goal to qualify to the finals and show quality volleyball. We played well in the pool stage although we had a long travel and fewer hours to train. I think the four teams are very near in their standards and any team can achieve the gold and we are working for that."
Cuba are currently ranked seventh in the world, while China are ranked 18th, but did not participate in last year’s 18-team event.
The second semifinal will see Slovakia, who are ranked 36th and are also new to the FIVB’s premier annual competition for national teams, take on Turkey. The Group 3 Final Four hosts are the lowest ranked team participating in this year's World League (No 45), but will hope to gain an advantage from playing in front of home support in Bursa. This is also their first participation in the competition.
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