From left: Angelo Vercesi (CRO), Giovanni Guidetti (GER), Lang Ping (CHN), Masayoshi Manabe (JPN)
Trieste, Italy, September 29, 2014 - Pool E, in Bari and Trieste, will probably be a very close affair. There is no team on full points and only three points separate top-ranked China and fourth-ranked Japan, with Italy and the Dominican Republic in between.
Even Belgium and Croatia, three points south of the promotion zone, may have a fighting chance at a Round III ticket. For Azerbaijan at two points and one win, however, and even more so for Germany at two points and no wins, it would take a major miracle to continue into Week 3 of the World Championships.
China coach Lang Ping: We played pretty good and consistently. The teams are stronger in the second round. As only three of our players have played at World Championship so we are less experienced than some other teams. We need to prepare and play each match separately. It is difficult to travel so much as there is not enough time to recover properly. It is the first time for us to have match schedule like this.
Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe: It is a pity we lost two games but we did our best. After losing the first match against Azerbaijan, it was difficult to regain momentum. We are ready and in good condition for the second phase of tournament. Travelling has never been a problem for us. We must focus on the first match versus Croatia – it might be the key moment of the second round.
Croatia coach Angelo Vercesi: Compared to our opponents, we have only played the FIVB World Grand Prix Group 3 tournament to prepare the World Championship. We do not have the same confidence and experience as the other teams. We grew as we played. The comeback against the Dominican Republic (from 0-2 to 3-2) helped us a lot. The strongest point of our game is our serve and block system and the fact we can count on all the members of our team.
Germany coach Giovanni Guidetti: We cannot be satisfied with the first competition phase. We experienced many difficulties. I do not know why we could not find our stability. However, our opponents played well. We must discuss on how to find the solutions to this problem. Furthermore, we need to play much more aggressively.