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Slovenia co-hosting Volleyball Men's World Championship

Ljubljana, 24 August - Slovenia and Poland will co-host the Volleyball Men's World Championship, which will start on Friday and run until 11 September in what will be the second appearance for Slovenia on the world stage. Slovenia hope for a good result after finishing 10th in the Nations League and replacing the head coach right ahead of the tournament.

Ljubljana
A volleyball match in Stožice Arena.
Photo: Jure Makovec/STA

The championship was originally planned to be held in Russia, but due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the country was stripped of organisation rights with a decision of the International Volleyball Federation on 1 March.

It was decided on 15 April that three towns in Slovenia and Poland will host a total of 52 matches as part of the championship - the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana and Poland's Katowice and Gliwice.

Katowice will host the preliminary stage groups (A and C) in Spodek Arena with more than 11,000 seats, as well as the final four stage on 10 and 11 September.

The central arena in Gliwice (13,752 seats) will host four matches of the round of 16 and two quarter-finals matches, and Stožice Arena in Ljubljana (12,000 seats) will also host the same number of elimination matches.

In addition, Ljubljana will also host four preliminary stage groups (B, D, E and F), which means that the Slovenian capital will host 30 out of the 52 matches of the 20th world championship in volleyball for men.

It will be the second appearance for Slovenia at the world stage after the 2018 world championship in Italy and Bulgaria, when Slovenia finished 12th, while the co-hosts Poland will defend their world title from four years ago.

This year's world championship will be played in a new, simpler format, with the top two teams from the six groups and the top four of the third placed teams qualifying for the elimination round of 16.

Slovenia, who recently hired new head coach, Romanian Gheorghe Cretu, will play in Group D with Cameroon, France and Germany. They open their campaign against Cameroon on Friday, followed by France (28 August) and Germany (30 August).

After winning silvers at the European championships in 2019 and 2021, Slovenia have not had many successes recently and the new head coach will hopefully reverse the trend after the national team finished 10th in the Nations League.

Cretu, who surprisingly replaced Australia's Mark Lebedew three weeks ahead of the tournament, has said that Slovenia have enough weapons to reverse the trend and has expressed the ambition to take the team to the world championship title.

"You start every competition with a certain dream. Everyone ... dreams of the ultimate goal. This is motivation that may seem strange at first, but you have to believe all the time," he said as he held his first practice with the team on 9 August.

Cretu noted that the team had to work on reducing errors and not giving up any easy points to the opponents. "Everybody knows how well Slovenians serve. Of course, we have to show some new things as well, which I'm not going to reveal now," he added.

zm/ep
© STA, 2022