Manama, Bahrain, July 17, 2019 – It’s all systems go for the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship with 16 teams having touched down in Bahrain’s capital city of Manama for the world age-group showpiece which will be held from July 17-27.

The teams will vie for the title with matches to be played in two competition halls at Isa Sport City.

The teams have been divided into four pools of four each. Pool A comprises hosts Bahrain, China, Morocco and Puerto Rico. Pool B features Argentina, Cuba, Egypt and Korea. Pool C includes the Czech Republic, Iran, Russia and Tunisia, while defending champions Poland are placed in Pool D with Brazil, Canada and Italy.

In the last edition, Poland defeated Cuba in straight sets to win the title, while Russia bested Brazil also in straight sets to claim the bronze medal.

Among the players that were part of the 2017 Dream Team were Russia’s Anton Semyshev, Poland’s Jakub Kochanowski and Bartosz Kwolek and Brazil’s Maique Reis Nascimento – now members of their respective senior teams that competed at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Poland, bidding to defend their title won at the Czech Republic in 2017, have been hard at work preparing for the tournament with coach Michal Bakiewicz putting trust on his players to give their best.

“I am very happy to start and play tomorrow. We have a very hard tournament and we have very strong teams in our group. We respect each team but I am sure we are ready to play and give our 100 per cent,” Bakiewicz said.

The other coaches also expressed their outlook and expectations on the tough competition in a press conference on Wednesday evening ahead of the Men’s U21 World Championship.

Bahrain coach Yusuf Khalifa: “I wish to welcome you all to Bahrain to this U21 World Championship. I hope you have a good tournament while playing the best games and may the best team win. We prepared well with our best effort in organising this tournament, and with a big effort from our team to prepare ourselves to present Bahrain in the best possible way, with this competition with 16 best teams in the world. I hope we will do our best.”

Argentina coach Martin Lopez: “The principal objectives are to play every match and to prepare for the future selection for Argentina. We will try to play good volleyball, but it will be difficult with this tournament with 16 of the best teams in the world.”

Brazil coach Giovane Gavio: “I would like to wish good luck, hoping for a good tournament for everyone. I think all teams are in the same level in this difficult tournament. We worked very hard to be here and we look forward to the finals, we want to be there.”

Canada coach Joao Paolo Bravo: “It is a big pleasure to be here and it is a big achievement for Canada. We have a pretty tough pool to play, and we are looking forward to see how we are able to do it. But our goal is to play our best and try our chances.”

Egypt coach Hossameldin Eissawy: “We come here to play good matches. We hope to win our first matches to make it to the top eight teams. We hope to find a good, high level in our volleyball.”

Iran coach Behrouz Ataei Nouri: “I am very happy to participate in this tournament. I hope to play good matches, and to enjoy playing together.”

Italy coach Monica Cresta: “We are happy to be here to participate in this important tournament. It will be a difficult pool for us but everyday, we will to search for the road to our success in every possible way.”

Morocco coach Khalid Berma: “This is my first experience to join, and I hope everyone will participate well.”

Puerto Rico coach Francisco Negron: ”We are really honoured to be here. If you see the rankings, we are probably the last ranked in the tournament, but we will give our best effort. We hope to, at least, win a couple of matches, so I hope my teams plays well.”

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