Press conference for the FIVB Volleyball World League Pool A2 in Izmir, with the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia and hosts Turkey
Izmir, Turkey, June 15, 2016 – The Portugal men’s national team arrived in the Turkish city of Izmir early morning on Wednesday, to compete with European counterparts Netherlands, Slovakia and hosts Turkey in Pool A2 of the FIVB Volleyball World League from June 17 to 19.
As the Final Four organiser, Portugal already has a spot in the Group 2 final round, which will be held from July 9 and 10 at the Centro do Desportos e Congressos in Matosinhos.
Portugal coach Francisco dos Santos and captain Alexandre Ferreira shared their thoughts at the press conference.
“As we’re already qualified for the Final Four, we will just use this opportunity in the preliminary round to grow as a team,” dos Santos said. “This will help us get to know our opponents better in the three weeks of pool play.”
Ferreira has great knowledge of Turkish volleyball system, having played two seasons for Ziraat Bankasi, one of the three best teams in the Turkish League.
“Our main goal is the Final Four,” Ferreira said. “We are here in Turkey to try to win every match, but our main mission is to get ready for the Final Four matches at Matosinhos.”
Dos Santos chose 12 players from the 17-player pool, which have been preparing for the World League since May at Vila Flor, located at the southern part of the district of Bragança.
The 12 players are Ivo Casas, Marcel Gil, Joao Oliveira, Miguel Rodrigues, Hugo Gaspar, Tiago Violas, Marco Ferreira, Andrei Lopes, Alexandre Ferreira, Fabricio Silva, Filip Cveticanin and Joao Fidalgo.
Meanwhile, hosts Turkey also hold high hopes for the Final Four. Their Italian coach Emanuele Zanini, who played against Portugal when he was formerly in charge of Slovakia, had no doubts about the degree of responsibility of Turkey.
“We are determined to be in the Final Four,” Zanini said. “This new competition formula of the World League is interesting and we look forward to challenging other teams in this pool, as we are the lowest ranked team here and we want to see our level of play. This pool is very important for Turkey, as a country, and this increases our responsibility as a team. We’re ready and eager to see how the players will respond on court.”
Turkish captain Ulas Kiyak believes that once they reach their mission of getting to the Final Four, they will be able to gain more achievements.
“We are aware that we still have a long way to go,” Kiyak said. “We believe that if we reach the Final Four, we can achieve to be crowned as World League champions.”
The Netherlands and Slovakia are more confined to utilise their young players at this stage.
“We have some young players who want to show what they’re worth and they are all eager to play in this tournament,” Netherlands coach Gido Vermeulen said.”
“We prepared really well for this tournament since May and we are curious to see our level of play,” Netherlands captain Jasper Diefenbach revealed. “We have three other European teams in this pool and this will be a good test of our strength. I am confident in this team and I believe that we will get good results.”
“We have a team that has a mix of experience and youth,” Slovakia coach Miroslav Palgut said. “We prepared well before this tournament, as we played some matches with Finland and Slovenia.”
“We want to gain experience and grow as a team, but we will do our utmost to get the best results,” Slovakia captain Emanuel Kohut said.