Stephan Antiga is aiming for Wagner Cup glory ahead of the World Cup
Torun, Poland, August 22, 2015 – The coaches of Poland, Japan and Iran will use the 13th Wagner Cup to put the finishing touches to their preparations ahead of the start of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup in Japan.
The three-day tournament that runs from August 22-24 features world champions Poland, World Cup hosts Japan and Iran in a round-robin tournament two weeks out from the start of the World Cup that runs from September 8-23. FIVB World League winners France complete the quartet, but won’t compete in Japan.
Poland will be out to put an ultimately disappointing World League campaign behind them, a campaign in which they finished fourth after losing to the USA in the bronze medal match. With places on offer at the Rio de Janeiro, 2016 Olympic Games for the gold and silver medallists, coach Stephan Antiga will be out to ensure that his team arrive in Japan in their best form.
“The World Cup is a high level competition and I think, Iran Poland, Russia, Italy, and the USA are as the favorites,” Antiga said. “It is good to have this tournament here in Poland to prepare for the World Cup even though we still have almost two weeks before it starts.
“We have played Iran a lot over the last two seasons and we are very familiar with them. They are usually very hard matches.”
Iran have also endured a slightly disappointing season after they missed out on a place in the World League final six, a year after they finished fourth. However, they are one of the most improved teams in world volleyball in recent years and have their sights fixed firmly on a place at Rio.
“We are here to ensure that we start the World Cup in our best condition,” Iran coach Slobodan Kovac said. “The players are a little tired and we have trained well and are in good condition, but we aren’t yet at 100 percent.
The Hubert Wagner Memorial Cup is a tournament dedicated to the memory of the coach who led Poland to world and Olympic glory in 1974 and 1976. In 2014 Russia claimed gold, Poland silver and Bulgaria bronze.