July 01, 2003 - Following the draw of the 2003 World Grand Prix last week Brazilian coach Aurélio Motta admits his side are in the toughest Pool but he is confident looking ahead to the tournament, which starts in Italy on July 18.
Brazil is in Pool B and will have to front Russia, the defending champions, China, Korea, Thailand and Canada. Italy, United States, Cuba, Japan, Holland and Germany form the group A.
"We are in the group most difficult," Motta said. "But of all these teams, the only stranger for us is Canada. The others we have faced on many occasions. We are always crossing paths with Russia and China in the main competitions. We played with Thailand in the last Grand Prix and in the World Championships, in which we also faced Korea".
"This will be an excellent competition, Brazil will fight for its fourth title of the tournament".
Brazil has previously won gold in the 1994, 1996 and 1998 World Grand Prix.
Having undergone some changes in the Brazilian line up Motta is satisfied with the evolution of his team. "Brazil is one of the teams that is more evolved in relation to last year. We have kept Paula, Valeskinha, Marcelle and Fabi and entered Virna, Raquel and Fabiana.
"The group is motivated and has already grown sufficiently, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. We will have good time to prepare however and we will gain more rhythm game by game. Our expectations for this competition are great. We want to finish in the top three once again.
Brazil are coming off a bronze medal conquest at the Montreux Volley Masters at the beginning of June, in Switzerland.