Nanjing, China, August 1, 2017 – The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Group 1 Finals will feature a tight race among the six best teams in Nanjing from August 2 to 6.Quick links - Volleyball:
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Serbia finished the Preliminary Round atop of the ranking table with a 7-2 win-loss record, but will have tough rivals in the Finals. The Rio 2016 silver medallists will face USA in their first match in Pool K1.
“It’s a great honour to be in the World Grand Prix Finals,” Serbia coach Zoran Terzic said. “Last time we were in the finals was four years ago when we took the bronze medal. Our target is to get a medal. It will be difficult because the six best teams are here. So we have to play very well to be able to hit our target.”
“Our team is ready and we have prepared to play against these amazing teams,” Serbia captain Milena Rasic added.
USA, Brazil, the Netherlands and Italy completed the Preliminary Round with 6-3 win-loss cards and also experienced difficult matches on the road to the Finals.
“We had a very challenging schedule in the World Grand Prix but we had a great time,” USA coach Karch Kiraly said.
Brazil coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes (Ze Roberto) also felt the difficulty of getting through to the Finals and cited the importance of determination when his team face Rio 2016 gold medallists China in their first match in Pool J1.
“It was very hard to get to the Finals,” Ze Roberto said. “We worked so hard in the last few weeks. China are our first opponents and they are the Olympic champions. So we have to make sure that we do our best against them.”
Netherlands coach Jamie Morrison and Italy coach Davide Mazzanti welcomed the Preliminary Round challenge and used it to help their teams gain more knowledge and improve their game.
“We’ve been lucky to play in three great countries - the Netherlands, Russia and Brazil - in the Preliminary Round,” Morrison said. “We are looking forward to more great experiences here in Nanjing. We are very happy to step out and improve.”
“It was great to learn and improve during the Preliminary Round and we are happy to have reached the World Grand Prix Finals,” Mazzanti said.
Finals hosts China had five wins and four losses in the Preliminary Round, but are bound to step up in the Finals as they play in front of their home fans. China coach An Jiajie and his players are confident that they will perform well against their opponents Brazil and the Netherlands in Pool J1.
“We’ve struggled a little bit in the last few weeks, but for the World Grand Prix Finals, we are confident we will perform well in front of our home crowd,” Jianjie said.
“We will do our best to claim victory and provide balance in this competition,” China captain Zhu Ting added.
Serbia and USA will open the Group 1 Finals at 15:00 local time on Wednesday. That match will be followed by an encounter between Rio 2016 champions China and reigning World Grand Prix title-holders Brazil at 19:30 at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre. All matches will be streamed live on the FIVB's YouTube page