November 29, 2003, Tokyo, Japan - World champions Brazil finished an excellent 2003 by claiming their first World Cup title here on Sunday and finished the tournament in style with their 11th successive victory, 25-17, 25-20, 25-16 over Japan in Yoyogi Stadium.
With the South Americans already confirmed as gold medalists after Italy had lost to Serbia and Montenegro earlier in the day, Bernardo Rezende's men just had to complete the formalities against Japan and did so in great artistic style to silence the 12,000 screaming local fans and walk away with the honour of having won the World League, the South American championship and the World Cup in the same year.
"It is my privilege to be the first ever head coach of Brazil to win this tournament," Rezende said. "Our players did an excellent job and played superbly right throughout the tournament, despite the long and tough campaign.
"Maybe this title has slightly less value than the Olympics but it is still a great honour to win the World Cup and completes a fantastic year for us."
"We are very happy that we could get the ticket of Athens and claim the title," captain Nalbert said. "We have eight to nine months to prepare for Athens now so we will be able to get the physical and the mental condition ready during the long preparation. We want to get the gold medal for Athens now."
While the World Cup triumph adds to Brazil's impressive trophy collection it also further confirms their status as the world number one team.
The battle for the other places, Italy were resigned to the silver medal after bronze medalists Serbia and Montenegro handed the European champions their second loss of the tournament in four sets 25-18, 21-25, 30-28, 25-22 while USA claimed fourth spot for the fourth time in their World Cup history after beating France 3-1 (25-19, 20-25, 26-24, 28-26).
In the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym, Venezuela ended their World Cup on a winning note when they claimed their fourth victory beating Egypt 31-29, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21 while China beat Tunisia 25-17, 24-26, 27-25, 31-29 and Canada defeated Korea 3-2 (28-30, 26-24, 20-25, 27-25, 15-13).
Final standings: Brazil 11 wins 0 losses, Italy 9-2, Serbia and Montenegro 9-2, USA 8-3, France 7-4, Korea 5-6, Canada 5-6, Venezuela 4-7, Japan 3-8, China 2-9, Tunisia 2-9, Egypt 1-10.