Kuortane, Finland, May 12, 2015 – After making their best ever finish of ninth place at FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship in Poland last year, Finland will try to achieve greater feats at the FIVB Volleyball World League this season.
Finland coach Tuomas Sammelvuo will start his third season in the World League after having a lot of experience in the past as a player and captain.
“We talk a lot about small things,” coach Sammelvuo said. “We want to make these small things right because they matter.”
With a little bit of time before their opening match at the World league, Finland are preparing 14 players in training at the Kuortane Olympic Training Centre. There will be new faces in Sammelvuo’s team like outside spikers Jan Helenius and Tomi Rumpunen, and middle blockers Sauli Sinkkonen and Ville Juntura. Jesse Mantyla, libero, will make a comeback after a couple of years absence in the team.
Sammelvuo will certainly count on their experienced trio of Konstantin Shumov, Matti Oivanen and Urpo Sivula, who are the remaining members of their 2006 World League roster. Oivanen is now the most capped player in the team with 233 matches, captain Antti Siltala has 226 matches, and Shumov with 202 matches played for the national team.
“Most experienced players like Siltala have stepped up on his role as captain in the past few years, and the new players will give extra spice to the team. We are ready to play and show what we can do on court.”
Finland will be appearing in the World League for the 10th consecutive time in a total of 11 participations. Its best achievement in the competition was seventh place in 2007, the same year they broke through in the top level European volleyball with a fourth place finish at the CEV European Championship.
Finland will be in Pool E with Belgium, Netherlands and Portugal. The preliminary round matches against Belgium will be played in the team’s long-time homecourt, Tampere Ice Arena in Hakametsa, on May 23 and 24.
“We want to be successful in the World League,” Sammelvuo said. “We need a good start against Belgium. We want to be better in every match because it is important in our mission to reach Rio 2016. This is our first step towards the Olympic Games.”