Everything still to play for at the World Grand Champions Cup


The coaches of the teams at the Men's World Grand Champions Cup pose for a photo at Thursday's press conference in Osaka

Osaka, Japan, September 14, 2017 – The FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup had a rest day on Thursday before the final three days of competition, which will take place at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium from Friday to Sunday. A press conference with the coaches was held at the team hotel in Osaka on Thursday and most agreed the race for the title was still wide open.

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Brazil coach Renan Dal Zotto: In this tournament so far, the technical level has been very high. There have been some excellent matches and the tournament has been superbly organised. If we look at the table, we all have three matches left and it’s pretty tight. Almost all the teams have a chance to win the title. There will be some high-level matches to come but we are aiming to play our best and finish as high as possible. We have three matches to play, against Iran, USA and Japan, all very tough teams with high technical levels and quality. We want to give it our best and get a good result, especially in tomorrow’s game against Iran who have been playing well so far. Our setter Bruno has had treatment on his right shoulder. We don’t want to take risks with him. If Bruno feels OK, we will play him, but we still have Rafael who has a lot of experience and is a player I trust.

USA coach John Speraw: First of all, I’d like to congratulate France coach Laurent Tillie for qualifying for the 2024 Olympics! In this tournament, we were enjoying ourselves until about 17-13 in yesterday’s game (against Iran). We played perfect volleyball in the first two sets and things were going great in the third set. Then things didn’t go great any more. It was a tough experience and we have to learn as much as we can and see if we can get back to playing perfectly against France tomorrow.

France coach Laurent Tillie: We have three matches left against three teams with three different styles of play – America, Italy and Iran – so we have the possibility of three more successes. But also, we can learn from all these teams. We have to come up with countermeasures against them so we can make a good performance. So far, we’ve had some ups and downs; we haven’t been very stable in our play, so that’s something we want to bring to our games. But we’ll be playing the Olympic No. 2 and No. 3 teams and another strong team in Iran. It’s an honour to play such teams.

(Re. 2024 Olympics): By 2024, I’ll be an old man. I’m proud and pleased about Paris hosting the Olympic Games. I want to say that Los Angeles and Paris made a wise choice to reach an agreement for the 2024 and 2028 Games.

Japan coach Yuichi Nakagaichi: When I look back at our two games so far, I cannot say we have achieved what we wanted to or in the way we wanted to. So, it’s been very frustrating. Of course, all our opponents are top class, so we are expecting difficult matches ahead. Losing to the top teams is one thing but losing in a way where we didn’t appear to be fighting well is not good. In the coming games, I hope we can be more aggressive and confident so we can get as close as possible to our best level and also learn from these teams.

Italy coach Gianlorenzo Blengini: We’ve been here since yesterday and it’s a great place to play volleyball. There are lots of high-quality teams here and we’ve had some high-level matches, and it shows what a high-quality tournament this is. We’ve played two tiebreak matches. We knew it would be difficult, but want to play the best we can and give our all in every game. Some things went well and others not so well, but we want to keep trying to do the best we can. In our two games so far, the team showed that we never give up and give it our all. Before the tournament, we knew we’d be faced with tough situations and in our two games so far we were able to show these qualities. But it’s not always easy to show them in every game, but you have to try to do it every time you go on court.

Iran coach Igor Kolakovic: I think we made two big surprises for Iran volleyball in the games we played and I’d like to make more surprises. But it’s going to be difficult in the next three games, first against the Olympic champions Brazil, then the home team Japan and the last game against the World League champions France. I said in the first press conference that we arrived with dreams and wishes, so we will try to realise our dreams.


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