Kraków, Poland, July 12, 2016 - On Wednesday night the FIVB Volleyball World League Finals action starts in Pool J which includes hosts Poland, the defending champions France and Serbia.
World champions Poland will play France at 20:30 (local time) with Serbia - the only one of the six teams who will not compete in 2016 Olympic Games - starting their campaign on Thursday against Poland.
In Tuesday's press conference French captain Benjamin Toniutti explained that his side is under no pressure as the 2015 champions due to the fact 2016 is a completely different year:
"We are proud to be in the Final Six," Toniutti said. "We have great memories from 2014 World Championship but now we expect a tough competition. We want to play good volleyball and prepare for Rio. As defending champions we don't feel any extra pressure because winning last year doesn't mean that we will claim the victory now."
Meanwhile France coach Laurent Tillie stressed that his side are focused on performing well in the World League Finals and nothing else. "We will play in the best arena in front of great fans," Tillie said. "I am glad to be here participating in the Finals among six top teams who play great volleyball. We are not focused on Rio, our aim is to perform well here in Krakow. We hope to reach the final."
FIVB Volleyball World League Group 1 Finals Schedule
Stephane Antiga, coach of Poland: "I am very happy to play in Krakow among the six best teams in the world. We work hard in the last weeks and I am sure that we will deliver a good performance. All our players are on fire."
Michał Kubiak, captain of Poland: "It's not a secret that the Olympic Games are the most important competition this year. Nevertheless we play at home now and we came here to win. It's always better to win than to lose but you have to consider on which level of the preparations for Rio the teams are."
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Nikola Grbic, coach of Serbia: "It's alway a great honour to be at the World League Finals involving the strongest teams in the world. Unfortunately we will not play in Rio but we will play as best as we can. It will be a challenge for us."
Dragan Stankovic, captain of Serbia: "It's last stage of the World League. It was difficult for us to prepare mentally knowing that this is the last competition. We will have to wait until next year to play as a national team again.
"I don't feel like we are favourites. We had a tough way to get here. We need to have right approach for each game."
Related information: Rio 2016 Olympic Games