Greece satisfied with 7th place at Volleyball Worlds

Greece ended in seventh place in the 2002 Men’s World Volleyball Championship after defeating Portugal 3-2 (20-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12) at the Luna Park Stadium in Buenos Aires, late on Sunday. On Friday night (early Saturday morning Greek time) Greece had lost 3-0 (23-25, 23-25, 20-25) to host Argentina. The finish was Greece’s second best at a World Championship, behind the sixth place earned on home ground, in Athens, in 1994. This time, however, the Greek team’s advance to the quarterfinals exceeded expectations. Coach Stelios Prosalikas, himself a former player for the national team, was content but said the team was only beginning to prove itself. «We will make our final assessment in 22 months’ time, after the Olympic Games. We know we have not become a superpower overnight. We simply did not fear opponents that we were used to admiring on TV. We need patience and to make sure this is not just a one-off result,» Prosalikas said after the Portugal game. Greece began the tournament badly, losing 3-0 to powerhouse Holland. It recovered by beating Cuba, runner-up at the previous World Championship, 3-0. It lost the following game to the Czech Republic (3-2), but its winning two sets ensured its qualification for the second phase. Greece began the second phase like the first, with a 3-0 loss to Yugoslavia. The next match was the most important in the tournament: a hard-won 3-2 victory over the United States was crucial in securing advancement to the quarterfinals. A 3-1 win over China was a formality. In the quarterfinal game, Greece was no match for eventual finalist Russia, which prevailed 3-0.