The countdown to Brazil’s third consecutive World Championships has began in earnest with the top nations announcing their preliminary squads.
There a few notable inclusions and omissions. For Serbia Grbic and Miljkovic return to the team that surprisingly won bronze at the World League finals. They are by most standards useful inclusions.
Russia has dropped Poltavsky and Kazakov from their World League team. Both are major names, although neither of them were starters in the last period.
French setter Bazin has returned to obscurity. After coming from outside the National Team squad just a week before the European Championships to lead the team to a bronze medal and starting through most of this years World League, he is apparently no longer among the best three French setters. On the other hand, France welcome back long time team leader Stephane Antiga, who will doubtless be refreshed from a free summer and champing at the bit to repeat their 2002 performance.
I was also interested to see what Brazil would do. By their standards the setters struggled in World League, and Ricardo had been named in their initial squad so I was intrigued to see if they might make that move. They didn’t.
Italy made no changes. For once after a disappointing performance they didn’t bring back four old players.
Six weeks to go…
I think Poltavsky and Kazakov out could be a big step forward for Russia. Not going to call it though.
so you’re tipping Brazil as the favourites?
got a feeling…
Did you know that Vyatcheslav Zaitsev’s son Ivan is in Italy’s squad for the WCs? He was born in Italy, speaks Russian but despite father’s misgivings decided to play for Italy. He is a 2.02 m setter, I think.
I know. He’s played his whole career in Italy. He was a setter, but now is playing a receiver. I’ve written before about a number of players playing for Italy whose fathers were famous players for other countries. He is one among about half a dozen including Zlatanov, Simeonov, Lasko, Travica and one other one I always forget.