Bragança, Portugal, May 31, 2016 – Portugal men’s coach Hugo Silva has praised his side’s preparation for this year’s FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 as they get ready for their Group 2 campaign.
The world No.30 go into the tournament with the knowledge that they are guaranteed a place at the Group 2 Finals as hosts. But Silva and his side have not rested on their laurels at the preparation camp in Vila Flor, Bragança
"This year we are enjoying working conditions that we have never had,” Silva explained. “First, we have had a month and a half of preparation, which is crucial if we want to gel as a team and have high physical, technical and tactical levels. I recall that last year we had just one week before the first game.
“Another advantage is that we do not have the pressure of winning, since we are already qualified for the Final Four,” he added.
Portugal will face Belgium three times on June 3, 4 and 5 ahead of their first World League outing in Turkey on June 17.
They clashed last year in Pool E, with Portugal failing to claim a win in all four matches.
"The games with Belgium serve, of course, to reveal the result of the work, but in a competitive format. With the Belgian team playing in World League Group 1 it will be a strong test of our ambitions,” Silva continued. “We want to show that Portugal is a team to look out for at the Finals. And I believe that with this work and a strong dose of character and ambition we can achieve.
Belgium will be no pushovers, with the side themselves preparing for a first run at Group 1. That fact is not lost on Silva.
"Before the World League 2015, I said that Belgium was one of the five best teams in Europe and the truth is that they won their pool in the World League.
“It is a team that, despite his youth, has a huge talent, with players from all sectors, playing in major championships.”