All four teams gathered in Łódź are bound for Rio. Will this WL weekend be a test of strength before the Olympics?
Łódź, Poland, June 23, 2016 - The FIVB Volleyball World League Pool D1 teams gathered in the city of Łódź are also qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio. Clashes between the Olympic (Russia), world (Poland), European and World League (France) champions, as well as the South American Championship silver medallists (Argentina) are sure to draw attention starting tomorrow.Julian Alvarez, assistant coach of Argentina: "
Coach Velasco could not attend because of personal matters, but he will be with us later today. It is the second weekend for us and we hope to play better than on the last one. We are working very hard all the time, because it is a part of preparation to the Olympics."Luciano De Cecco, team captain of Argentina:
"It is another weekend for us. We will play against three of the best teams in the world. We want this weekend to be a learning experience before the Olympics. We will try to play more aggressively, and try to show better game than last weekend.Laurent Tillie, head coach of France: "
After all these compliments for the organizers I can only say – it is all true. It is always a pleasure to be here in Poland. My players feel here like at home, for example my team captain who is a champion of Poland and last season’s MVP. It will be a special weekend with the opponents that we have here - the World and Olympic Champions and Argentina, with their unconventional style of play. Even if the conditions are tough for us, we had to play in Tokyo, just like Poland, and then in Sydney last week but we are competitors and we need to handle this and give our best."Benjamin Toniutti, team captain of France:
"Every time it is a big pleasure to play in Poland. The organisation is very good and atmosphere is superb. It is an important weekend for us, because all teams are playing in the Olympic Games. We need to use this as a test because after the group phase in Rio, we will probably cross with one of these three in the quarterfinals."Vladimir Alekno, head coach of Russia: "
I always believe my captain, but I don’t believe it when he says that this will be the last time in World League for him. I want to thank the organisers for preparing this event as always in the best possible way, as everything from the venue to accommodation is top notch and lets us concentrate on our games. Now we are focusing on our first rival - France."Sergey Tetyukhin, team captain of Russia:
"I am glad that I have a chance to play again in World League, but I think it is also the last time for me in this competition because of my age. It is always a pleasure to play in Poland, fans are fantastic and they fill the halls to create a great atmosphere. For each team here the Olympic Games are the main goal of the season. World League is a final rehearsal before Rio so we need to try our best. We will do everything to win all the games here. I am sure that again it will be volleyball feast for all fans inside the arena and in front of their TVs."Stephane Antiga, head coach of Poland:
"I am very happy we are playing in Poland. Conditions in Lodz are very good, we can prepare appropriately to the Olympics Games. As it has been said, the team is not on its top level yet, but I can assure you that we will give all our heart to the game and show the best we can, especially since we are playing here in front of our fans."Michal Kubiak, team captain of Poland:
"We are glad we are here together for the first time since the end of the tournament in Japan. We want to thank our federation that we are hosts of the Final Six. We are able to catch some rest before the most important moments of the season, because of the guaranteed place in Finals as hosts. We may not play our best volleyball at this stage of preparations, but all Olympic teams are probably at a similar stage of preparation towards Rio. Nevertheless, we like to win and our goal is to that against the teams here."