Down to the Wire in Group 1 of the 2017 World League (Week 3 Preview)

  0 Braden Keith | June 13th, 2017 | Canadian Volleyball, European volleyball, FIVB World League, International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, U.S. Men's National Team

2017 FIVB World League – Group 1

The 3rd and final weekend of the Intercontinental round of the 2017 FIVB World League will take the top-tiered Group 1 to 3 new countries and a new continent. The tournament moves closer to Curitaba both literally and figuratively with group G1 in Cordoba, Argentina. Pool H1 will be played jointly in Katowice and Lodz, Poland, while group leaders France will head to Antwerp, Belgium to finish their preliminary run.

Pool Breakdown:

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  France (Pool I1) 6 0 18 18 4 4.500 536 458 1.170
2  Serbia (Pool G1) 5 1 15 15 6 2.500 495 455 1.088
3  Brazil (Pool G1) 4 2 13 15 10 1.500 563 550 1.024
4  Belgium (Pool I1) 3 3 10 13 12 1.083 557 544 1.024
5  Poland (Pool H1) 3 3 9 13 13 1.000 578 563 1.027
6  Bulgaria (Pool G1) 3 3 8 12 14 0.857 573 584 0.981
7  Canada (Pool I1) 3 3 7 12 14 0.857 585 603 0.970
8  Iran (Pool H1) 3 3 7 11 14 0.786 555 564 0.984
9  United States (Pool H1) 2 4 7 11 12 0.917 515 529 0.974
10  Russia (Pool H1) 2 4 6 10 14 0.714 521 540 0.965
11  Italy (Pool I1) 1 5 4 8 15 0.533 516 544 0.949
12  Argentina (Pool G1) 1 5 4 7 17 0.412 497 557 0.892

Pool G1

  • Venue: Argentina Orfeo Superdomo, Córdoba, Argentina
  • All times are Argentina Time (UTC−03:00).
  • Brazilian Time is the same as Argentina Time
  • +1 hour for U.S. East Coast time
  • +5 hours for Serbian time
  • +6 hours for Bulgarian time
Date Time
16 Jun 18:10 Brazil Bulgaria
16 Jun 21:10 Argentina Serbia
17 Jun 16:10 Bulgaria Serbia
17 Jun 19:10 Argentina Brazil
18 Jun 16:10 Serbia Brazil
18 Jun 19:10 Argentina Bulgaria

Pool G1 will be played in Cordoba, Argentina, about 1200 miles southwest of Curitaba, Brazil, where the Final 6 will be played for Group 1 in early July. The pool features 2 of the top 3 teams so far in the group, Serbia and Brazil, as well as 3-3 Bulgaria. The host team, Argentina, will be the underdogs in all three matches of the weekend, which bodes well for Serbia. If Serbia can win against Argentina (or any other team in the pool), they will have sealed their spot in the Final 6.

With Brazil already going to the Final 6, that means that Bulgaria is really the only team in this group that provides any intrigue. The simple route for Bulgaria into the final is to win more games than both Iran and the United States and Russia in pool H1. The problem is that with all 3 of those teams in the same pool, one of them will probably take at least 2 wins. That means that Bulgaria would be looking for a clean sweep of the defending Olympic champions Brazil and the defending World League champions Serbia – not an easy task.

Bulgaria, who currently sit 6th in the table, are in some regard at the mercy of their rivals – in that their wins can help themselves, but can’t hurt other teams with whom they’re vying for spots in the Final 6. Iran, Russia and the United States have the opportunity to beat the other to both lift their own boat, and sink the others’. The same goes for Canada and Belgium in Pool I1. The Bulgarians, even though they currently rank 6th, are not in a good spot.

Pool H1

  • Venue: Poland Spodek, Katowice, Poland (15 June)
  • Venue: Poland Atlas Arena, Łódź, Poland (17–18 June)
  • All times are Central European Summer Time (UTC+02:00).
  • -7 hours for U.S. East Coast time
  • +2.5 hours for Iran time
  • +1 hours for Moscow time
Date Time
15 Jun 17:25 Iran United States
15 Jun 20:25 Poland Russia
17 Jun 17:25 United States Russia
17 Jun 20:25 Poland Iran
18 Jun 17:25 Russia Iran
18 Jun 20:25 Poland United States

Pool H1 could be the wildest group, as it features the 5th, 8th, 9th, and 10th ranked teams in the current Group 1 standings. None of the 4 teams are mathematically eliminated from the Final 6 yet, and yet with the exception of Poland are facing an uphill battle to earn their spot in Brazil.

The United States vs. Iran match that opens the group is the one to circle. Whichever one of those teams can earn 6 points, Given the United States’ win over Russia last weekend, they’ll hope to pick up 3 more points there. If they can beat Iran and Poland, they might still sneak into the Final 6 after an abysmal 0-3 start. But, it will almost assuredly take a 3-0 weekend for the Americans to get there.

Iran, with 3 wins already to their name, have a little less pressure – beating the United States 3-0 or 3-1 would mean that if they grabbed either a win or a 3-2 loss to Poland, they could then play Russia for a spot in the Final 6. Even if they don’t pick up any points against Poland, Iran still has a chance at qualifying if they can get to 5 wins (even though their point tally would be low).

Pool I1

  • Venue: Belgium Lotto Arena, Antwerp, Belgium
  • All times are Central European Summer Time (UTC+02:00).
  • Same game times in Italy, France
  • -7 hours for Canadaian East Coast time
Date Time
16 Jun 17:10 Italy France
16 Jun 20:10 Belgium Canada
17 Jun 17:10 France Canada
17 Jun 20:10 Italy Belgium
18 Jun 13:00 Canada Italy
18 Jun 16:00 Belgium France

Pool I1 will feature Group 1 leaders France, the first team to qualify through to the Final 6, and while their position in Curitaba is secured, this will still be a crucial weekend for Les Bleus. That’s because all-world outside hitter Earvin Ngapeth is expected to return to the team, and France will have to figure out how to integrate him into the side without disrupting the chemistry developed with Stephen Boyer leading Group 1 in scoring over the first two weeks.

With Italy playing primarily for pride, the qualifying focus will be on Canada and Belgium. The two teams currently rank 7th and 4th, respectively, with the same number of wins – Belgium has 1 more point than the Canadians.

Either team would probably secure their spot with 6 more points – especially if 3 of those came via win over the other team. There is opportunity for both teams to play there way in too – Italy has been very beatable (they’re 1-5), and France has other motivations besides winning this week. There’s a chance that both teams pick up 6 points (or more) this week, which probably gets both teams in.


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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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