Australia, Belgium, Brazil and Slovenia excited to continue their journey in Bologna


Bologna, Italy, September 20, 2018 - Bologna is ready to host the matches from Pool F in the second round of the FIVB Men’s World Championship. On Tuesday the head coaches and the captains of the four teams competing in Bologna – Australia, Belgium, Brazil and Slovenia – shared their expectations and hopes for the upcoming exciting matches. The games, played in Bologna, will be decisive to determine who qualifies for next week’s Final Six in Turin.

Mark Lebedew, head coach of Australia: “We are a nice team, we have a future ahead of us. The experience at the World Championship will help us grow, but we don’t think about the Olympics at Tokyo 2020. We would like to try to give our best in Bologna, but we are aware that the matches will be difficult ones. We have met tough opponents also in the First Round, but we were able to proceed to the next phase, so we will see now.”

Paul Carroll, captain of Australia: “We had three tough opponents already - Russia, USA, Serbia and we expect that tomorrow’s match vs. Brazil will be one with this type of quality as well. We had our chances in our three matches against the strong teams, but unfortunately we took only one point from those games, but I think we are coming here with a lot of confidence. We have nothing to lose, but if we beat them, they will not make it to the Final Six. Everyone in our team needs to play with confidence, to go for every shot. We have a good mix of experience. I am trying to lead my team, telling my teammates: “Hey, you are good enough to beat the opponent.” And if we have this belief, we can actually beat them and not be considered the outsider.”

Andrea Anastasi, head coach of Belgium: “Our aim is always to reach the maximum, to achieve the possible result. We want to try to improve our ranking and why not try to win a medal? A better ranking will be helpful as well when we think about the qualification process for the Olympic Games. For our team it is important to gain experience here at the World Championship. I think that until now we showed good volleyball, but what makes me really happy is that there is a good atmosphere in the team. We are not perfect, but we try to compete day by day.” 

Sam Deroo, captain of Belgium: “We feel great in Bologna. We had our first practice in the sports hall on Wednesday. It is incredible, a very nice one and I hope that there will be a lot of people coming to support us. Tomorrow we play against Slovenia; we have already met them during this World Championship. It was a little bit of a strange match – we dominated the first two sets; then they made some changes and we didn’t find answers to their tactical solutions and that’s why they won in the end. I expect a close game tomorrow. Our ambition is to get to the match vs. Brazil as if this was the final. If we win our first two matches, anything could happen, because the pressure will be high also on the Brazilian team. With a lot of courage maybe we could do something more.”

Renan Dal Zotto, head coach of Brazil: “We performed good in the first round of the FIVB Men’s World Championship, but it is true also that we want always more. We are happy to be in Bologna and play our matches on top level. With this formula of the tournament the most important thing is to always win. Belgium, Slovenia and Australia are good teams and I think that all the teams represent a well-balanced group; all deserve to continue their journey in the competition. We should try to play every match as if it was a ‘big final’ for us. Brazil have always been expected to win and to reach the final, but volleyball nowadays is different. The match vs. Belgium is going to be interesting, but for us the most important matchup now is the one tomorrow against Australia.”

Bruno Mossa Rezende, captain of Brazil: “Emilia Romagna is a second home for me and I feel really good here. We made our first training today in PalaDozza and I have great memories from this sports hall as I won here the Italian Cup back in 2015 with the team of Modena. I expect that some of my friends here will come to cheer for Brazil, because we will need positive energy for sure. Playing for Brazil is always a big honour for me and we all hope that we could be better and better with each day. Brazil is always entering any competition as big favourite, but we know how to cope with the pressure. However, the matches in Bologna won’t be easy ones, but going to the Final Six is our first aim.” 

Slobodan Kovac, head coach of Slovenia: “I am really happy to be back to Bologna, where the spirit is positive and people love volleyball. We started off good in this World Championship, but then we lost our rhythm and now I hope that my players are ‘angry’ and they will show this on the court. We have a great possibility to play for first place in the pool. We start vs. Belgium, we won over them once and we will try to repeat that positive result, but we know it is not going to be easy. We are preparing now and we hope for the best. Of course, Brazil are the favourites, but we have our chances.”

Tine Urnaut, captain of Slovenia: “I hope that we will be full of energy tomorrow and that we will show our best performance against Belgium. At this stage of the competition, there is no place for mistakes. Brazil are favourite in the group, but we will go step by step and our goal for tomorrow is to win against Belgium. We know it will be hard, we must push our opponents with the serve, so that we can have a positive result for us.” 


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