Samokov, Bulgaria, July 9, 2015 – Hosts Bulgaria, Puerto Rico and the Czech Republic will all be out to reach the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Group 2 final when they meet over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Puerto Rico lead the way with seven points, the Czech Republic are close behind on six, while Bulgaria are on three. Croatia complete the quartet of teams. Pool M’s weekend of action takes place in Arena Samakov, which is based in the mountain town of Samakov.
On Friday Puerto Rico take on the Czech Republic before the hosts face Croatia. On Saturday Croatia and Puerto Rico meet, while the Czech Republic take on Bulgaria. Finally on Sunday Croatia and the Czech Republic face one another before Bulgaria round off the action against Puerto Rico.
Bulgaria’s are trying to build on their 3-2 win over Puerto Rico that rounded off a tough opening weekend in the World Grand Prix that began with losses to Poland and Canada. While Puerto Rico may have slipped to a loss to Bulgaria, they began with wins over Canada and Poland.
Croatia lost all three matches, to Argentina, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, while the Czech Republic book-ended that win with a loss to the Netherlands and a win over Argentina.
Carlo Parisi Czech Republic coach:
“I’m here in Samokov for the third time in my career and I can tell you that the conditions are always good. The hall, hotel, everything. Tomorrow we will have tough match against Puerto Rico, on the second day we play against Bulgaria and I think that after these two games we will have better picture for our future in the World Grand Prix. I believe we can win these matches and qualify for the next round.”
Goran Jovanovic Croatia assistant coach:
“We are here without our best players but this is good opportunity for the young girls in our team to gain international experience. We played against Bulgaria in the European Games and we won, but now they have different players. I am expecting a hard match.”
Dragan Nesic, Bulgaria coach:
“I’m very proud of my girls. They played well in the first tournament. As you know we are playing a young team in the World Grand Prix, but they managed to defeat Puerto Rico in a really tough game and I want to congratulate them for that. I believe as host we can do it again. Our performance in the tournament is improving with every single match. Croatia have two very good players but I think that we have analysed their game well and we are ready for the match tomorrow. Our main goal in these matches is for the players to gain experience for the FIVB U23 World Championship in Puerto Rico later this year.”
Jose Mieles Puerto Rico coach:
“I’m in Bulgaria for the first time and everything is great. We had free time yesterday and we went to the capital Sofia, it was very nice. Here in Samokov we will play game by game. We do not divide the teams on strengths and weaknesses and we certainly expect a difficult match against the Czech Republic.”