Toronto, Canada, Canada coach Arnd Ludwig needs no telling about the size of the task facing his side at the 2010 FIVB Women's World Championship. Ludwig believes the Canadians are in the "toughest" pool and says they will need to be at their best to reach the second round.
Canada, world No24 in the FIVB rankings, will play defending champions Russia and 2004 Olympic gold medalists China in the Osaka-based Pool D, together with Korea, their first opponents on October 29, the Dominican Republic and Turkey.
"All teams are ranked ahead of Canada," Ludwig said. "(There are) four pools and this one is by far the toughest. It's going to be very tough to advance to the next round."
However, he is happy with his team's preparations, which included a rare victory over world No6 Cuba. Ludwig added: "We are tall, we jump very high, we're very good at blocking. We worked a lot this summer and physically, I think our girls are very well prepared for the world championship."
Canada captain Tammy Mahon highlighted her side's win over Cuba as a cause for optimism. "In nine years we've only beaten Cuba twice," Mahon noted. "You have to learn how to win and our team is in the process of learning how to win right now. It's slow, but it's happening."
photos Janos Schmidt