FIrst time in history of World league team of USA is celebrating victory. USA defeated Brazil in semifinal and also in final against Serbia team of Hugh McCutcheon produced fantastic volleyball.
The U.S. Men, ranked third in the world, finish World League with a record of 12-4. Serbia, tied for eighth in the world with Puerto Rico, finishes second at 10-6. Russia defeated host Brazil, the five-time defending World League champion, 3:1 to take the bronze medal.
Team USA won $1 million for the overall tournament victory. Its previous best World League finishes were bronze medals in 1992 and 2007. All four teams in the medal matches will play next at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
American Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon said, “The World League was a really tough competition and an excellent test for us. Winning it for the first time is a fantastic achievement to the USA. Serbia brought many problems to us during the match.” USA captain Thomas Hoff said, “I am quite proud of our team. We had overcome very strong players, with a great ball control. We played much better than we did against Serbia in the first match.”
The Head Coach of Serbia Igor Kolakovic said, “I am sad because we lost the final match, but, on the other hand, I am really happy because of our performance. Not many people thought we would be able to reach the Final Round and we did it. Unfortunately, we made many mistakes in the last match.”
Russia defeated Brazil 3-1 (25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 25-19) in the bronze-medal match. The team coached by Vladimir Alekno, with Maxim Mikhaylov in great shape, killed the chances of Brazil thanks to their wonderful “torcida” (11,000 spectators for the match). Russian Captain Vadim Khamuttskikh confessed his happiness: “We felt the defeat against Serbia, but could recover on time to leave Brazil with a victory and a medal.”
The host country of the Final Round didn’t manage a place on the podium, after seven gold medals, two silver and four bronze. Brazilian Head Coach Bernardo Rezende said, “I am really sad because I was not able to recover the team emotionally. Some players were under their levels and did not make it. Let’s work on these days to put them in a good shape again.”
MVP : Lloy Ball (USA)
Best Scorer: Ivan Miljkovic (Serbia)
Best Spiker: Dante (Brazil)
Best Blocker: Marko Podrascanin (Serbia)
Best Server: Giba (Brazil)
Best Setter: Lloy Ball (USA)
Best Libero: Richard Lambourne (USA)
Results of Final tounament
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