Kraków, Poland, July 17, 2016 - The 27th season of the FIVB World League concluded on Sunday night in Tauron Arena, Krakow as Serbia prevailed over Brazil to claim their first ever title.
Serbia was the only side competing at the Finals to have not qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and, as such, this was the last tournament for them this year.
"It’s a pity that we don’t go to the Olympic Games, because we play really well beating now almost all the best teams in the world – Italy, Russia, Poland," Serbia's Marko Podrascanin said. "It was a great season and now we are going to celebrate this historical success."
The other fives teams will now start their preparation for the Olympics, with medals no doubt on their minds.
"Our main goal is the Olympic Games, so now we need to think about the good things and learn from our mistakes," Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende said.
Not winning the World League might be a good omen for them as four years earlier Poland claimed the 2012 World League title but did not make it any further than the quarterfinal stages at London 2012.
This year's World League marked a new chapter for this competition which grew up for the first time ever to include 36 teams across three groups of 12. The winner was decided in Krakow during a very tight final phase.
"The expansion has helped enhance the competiveness and intensity of the tournament, making it more attractive to fans and sponsors worldwide," FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° said.
The six contenders - Brazil, USA, Italy, Poland, Serbia and France - confirmed that they are rightly sat at the top table of men's volleyball with a high quality tournament. Most of the encounters were very tight with the likes of Poland and Brazil's comeback victories from 2-0 down in their games against France and USA respectively just two examples of that. Another highlight was the semifinal between France and Brazil when the teams needed 2 hours and 16 minutes to decide the winner in four sets.
After the final the Dream Team was revealed which consist from the following players:
MVP - Marko Ivovic (Serbia)
Best Outside Spiker - Marko Ivovic (Serbia)
Best Outside Spiker - Antonin Rouzier (France)
Best Middle Blocker - Mauricio (Brazil)
Best Middle Blocker - Srecko Lisinac (Serbia)
Best Libero - Jenia Grebennikov (France)
Best Setter - Simona Giannelli (Italy)
Best Opposite - Wallace (Brazil)
The final stages of the tournamet in Krakow were witnessed by FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° who also met the referees making their final preparations for the Olympic Games.
"We have the opportunity to launch volleyball around the world at the Olympic Games and referees are very important in this process," President Graça said. "This is why we are holding these seminars, to give referees training - just like athletes - ahead of the biggest sporting event in the world."
The President added that new technologies showcased at the FIVB World League Finals will be used at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, including the Volleyball Challenge System, electronic score sheets for volleyball and beach volleyball and the electronic team and referee tablets for the volleyball.
For Krakow and Tauron Arena it was a second big volleyball event after hosting the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship in 2014.
"Until now, Katowice in 2001, 2007 and Gdansk in 2011 were the two Polish cities who had the pleasure of hosting the World League Finals," Polish Volleyball Federation President Jacek Kasprzyk said. "This year Kraków joins the club with its beautiful, state-of-the-art Tauron Arena. I would like to give my thanks to Prof. Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of Krakow, as well as the city’s institutions and authorities, for the fruitful cooperation and for effectively promoting the city through sport."