Ufa, Russia, June 7, 2018 - Coaches and captains of the four teams participating in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League tournament in Ufa from Friday to Sunday were present at a press conference on Thursday.
Russia coach Sergei Shliapnikov said: "This tournament is very hard, but rather interesting. We have to play fifteen matches in the span of just one month. And that’s while constantly flying from place to place after our players also took place in the European cups, so we have to make rotations often.
"Many of our team members are first-timers. Some of them were picked with plans for the future, some were chosen to deal with their tasks right here and now. The boys have enough potential and experience to help the team. We are also currently combing through a massive pool of players looking ahead to the World Championship. A lot of them went through junior and national teams I was supervising. I know them well and I understand what they’re capable of. All of them can help the team out.
"Our team has no complexes towards our rivals. We want to win. Right now it’s very important to choose our positioning, so we are studying the Brazilian team. I have no doubts that everyone will give it their best.
"Our goal is to get to the finals, and we are determined to reach them. There are some problems, but we are slowly but surely heading towards them. Our flight schedules can be harsh and the final stage in Italy is bound to be tough, so we will try to get our team there in top shape and find a way to strengthen it.
China coach Raul Lozano said: "I think that this tournament of the Volleyball Nations League is very hard for all of the participants, because everyone has to move every week and deal with the jet lag. The main players have to be rotated in order to get time to recover.
"The stadium in Ufa is great. It might be originally a hockey stadium, but the organisers have adapted it very well for the needs of volleyball. The courts and everything else are in wonderful shape.
"We were the first team to arrive in Ufa, so we had the opportunity to become acquainted with the city. We saw the monument to Salavat Yulaev, and we liked it a lot. Ufa is a beautiful and pleasant city."
Brazil coach Renan Dal Zotto said: "Despite the long flights, we have played a few matches already. Our team is in good shape and in high spirits. We expect only positive emotions and results from tomorrow’s match.
"We had the opportunity to test the stadium, since we have been practising for a few days now. Everyone likes the stadium. I think the audience should find it convenient as well.
"All of the matches in this tournament will be hard. Knowing that we will be playing against Russia, we brought almost all of our main players."
China captain Daoshuai Ji: "This is my first time in Russia, and I like it a lot here. For our team every match and every point is important, and we will strive to get the absolute most out of the upcoming matches.
"The current state of China’s team in the ranking is not the best, so we will fight for every point and for every ball to better our position.
Brazil captain Bruno Rezende said: "I agree that the tournament is very hard because of the necessity to play matches consecutively. I am glad to be in Ufa. This is my first official match in Russia, and I cannot wait for it.
"I think that the teams of Russia and Brazil are made up of top players. And I know that tomorrow the crowd will be against us. Even so, I am looking forward to it and we are going to give it our all."
Iran coach Igor Kolakovic said: "As my colleagues have already stated, this is a very important tournament. The first two weeks were a troublesome time for us. We aim to better our position in the upcoming matches.
"We are here to raise our game to a new level. We are going to do our best against all of the teams. We are aware that the teams of Russia and Brazil are some of the best in the world. We respect all of our opponents and will play at our best in every game."
Iran captain Saeid Marouf said: "I agree with our coach, the team’s performance the last two weeks was rather lackluster. But here in Russia we’re planning to bring our best game and get as many points as possible. It’s hard for us to have three matches in a row as well, but that’s not an excuse, since all of the teams are in equal conditions."
Russia captain Igor Kobzar said: "It’s hard to add anything else to what’s already been said. The hardest thing about this tournament is that we have to play three matches in a row, and so have no time to recover.
"Everyone likes the arena we are going to be playing at. And the court is very well made too."