This is match of the World Championship in Italy
After first stage of competition was finished, 18 best teams formed six new groups with three teams each. Now two best teams in each of these new groups will go into third round. Serbia and Cuba are in group with Mexico.
So that probably both teams, Cuba and Serbia will be placed on and this game will decide about first place in this group. First place is very important because it provides easier opponents in the third stage.
Place in the third round of competition will find two first-placed teams from all six groups.
The winner of this group will play in the third stage of the competition against the best team in M group, consisting of France, Argentina and Japan, and the runner-up of group I, in which are Russia, Egypt and Spain.
Runner-up team from this group will play against the winner of the group I (Russia, Egypt, Spain) and the winner of Group N (Poland, Brazil, Bulgaria).
Each group winner in the third stage of the competition advance to the semifinals, the runner-up teams will play for placement of the fifth to eighth, and third place for the placement of the ninth to 12th places.
Therefore winner of this group will probably meet later with France and Spain, while second place team will have to play against Russia and Brazil which is much more unfavorable options. That is all about competition system.
As for the quality of today's opponents I think it's about equal, but the fact is that Cuba here in this competition so far has played a lot better. They were in group with Brazil,Spain and Tunis and won all matches in first round,beating even Brazil, team that were winner of World League and also first favorite here in Italy.
On the oher hand Serbia, team that on recently completed World League won the bronze medal, beating Cuba in that game for third place, here in Italy was so far biggest disappointment. In competition with Germany,Poland and Canada, they have managed to win only one game (vs Germany), even lost of big underdogs,Canada.
There were some rumors that this was a deliberate move to avoid some oponents in this stage of the competition, but in my opinion it's just not truth. I have watched all games of Serbia team and they simply did not play well, even in their only win against Germany, I did not liked what I saw.
It's interesting that in game against Cuba on the previously mentioned World League, Serbia has perform without their two best players, Grbic and Milkovic,but still managed to win. Now on this world championship, this two players are in the team but their contribution is zero, especially from Miljkovic.
So,against excellent team like Cuba, in my opinion Serbia is almost with no chance. Pick Cuba to win.