World Champs 2018 starts today! Ready for Finland-Bulgaria and Italy-Japan.

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Today in Varna at 20.40 local time, 10 minutes delayed due to television needs compared to the original program, the inaugural match of Pool D between Bulgaria (which on the way lost due injured first Sokolov, then Georgi Bratoev and Boyan Yordanov and at the last also the libero Ivanov for a quarrel with the coach) and Finland.

The inaugural matches:
Italy-Japan 19.30 CET
Bulgaria-Finland 19.40 CET

According to the site World of Volley.com, these are the expectations of the coaches that will open the tournament today:
Blengini, the head coach of Italy.
This is a one-of-a-kind experience, especially with the audience behind us. We will start the tournament in a good way; we do not feel any pressure since we feel ready. We obviously feel the excitement is mounting but my players are extremely motivated and they are willing to catch a flying start to the tournament. We have analyzed what happened in the VNL where we lost to Japan. That loss came at a very different stage of the season, we have been working very hard since then but I am sure they have done just the same. A World Championship on home soil will be a boost to the whole Volleyball family in Italy and to play the first match in Rome at Foro Italico is an extra motivation in itself. We have built this team to be able to compete with any opponent and it is obvious that we have high expectations and ambitious goals. Nevertheless, we have to remain down-to-earth and we will take it one match at a time. After the opening match in Rome, we will be playing another four matches in Florence and we want to make it to the second round with as many points as possible in our pocket”.

Yuichi Nakagaichi, the head coach of Japan.
Italy have much history and they obviously are the favourites of this match. We feel ready for this opening game, as we have been working for two years for this championship. We will be playing to the best of our abilities. Playing outdoors is something new for us but we are happy because it makes our sport even more spectacular.

Plamen Kostantinov, the head coach of the co-host Bulgaria.
The most important thing for us at the beginning will be to get the maximum from the tournament first round. Because of that, we will pay a special attention to every single game we play. If you do not manage to win as many matches as you play in the first phase, it will be very difficult to qualify for the Finals, despite your achievements in the next round. We want to be optimists despite all the problems we have. We hope that we will start in the best way. I do not want to give huge promises. If the sport was completely certain, it will not be as interesting as it is. We will give our best and try to achieve the maximum as the host of the World Championship.

Head coach of Finland, Tuomas Sammuelvuo.
Actually, it is a great pleasure to be here. First of all, I’m happy for the all the Finish Volleyball that we are here, playing against the best teams in the world. So, for us, it is a great pleasure and honor to be here. Regards to the conditions, everything is great! We are just waiting to start the games. I expect a tough game against Bulgaria. Of course, we will play in front of a great crowd. It will be a big Volleyball party. We will try to put them in a difficult situation. I think the first game is always a little bit special, so we tried to prepare everything in the best way possible.”

Photos from Web.