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Olympic champions Brazil geared up for VNL

Brazil celebrate a point during the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup in Japan.
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 4, 2018 - Introducing the top teams in the current world rankings, the fourth installment in this series looks at reigning Olympic champions Brazil.

Since the turn of the millennium, Brazil have set the benchmark in men's volleyball. Currently the top team in the men's rankings, Olympic champions Brazil go into this year’s inaugural edition of the Volleyball Nations League as favourites. And alongside this year's FIVB Volleyball World Championships, the new competition is a priority for national coach Renan Dal Zotto.

“We are looking forward to taking on the top teams in the world in this spectacular new format,” said the Brazilian coach. Upon taking over from Bruno Rezende as head coach, he wasted little time in announcing that the Brazilians were hungry to maintain their position as the number one team in the world: “Volleyball has developed greatly in the last two decades and we have to stay on that route. We will try to stay at the forefront of the sport, with great professionals working in a highly professional structure.”

Last year, Brazil again lived up to expectations claiming victories at the South American Championship and the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Grand Champions Cup. Brazil won the latter for a fourth time in a row in a competition that produced a repeat of the Olympic final – led by stars including setter Bruno Rezende, MVP Ricardo Lucarelli and Wallace De Souza.

“Overall, I think this has been a fantastic competition. The technical level was very high and we had a rematch of the Olympic final, so being able to win such a title makes me very happy,” said Brazil coach Renan Dal Zotto, who claimed a first major title in his first year as head coach.

Come the Summer Games in Japan in 2020, Brazil will be looking to defend the title they won on home soil at the 2016 Olympics. The gold medal in Rio was undoubtedly the icing on the cake for a team that has enjoyed more than its share of success since 2000.

The Brazilians have two Olympic wins to their name this millennium (2004 and 2016), as well as two silver medals at the Summer Games in 2008 and 2012. Another silver medal came at the most recent FIVB Volleyball World Championships in 2014, after winning three titles in a row between 2002 and 2010. Brazil are also the record winners of the FIVB Volleyball World League, with nine titles to their name – eight of which came since the turn of the millennium. Perhaps the most bitter disappointment came in the form of  last year’s 3-2 defeat to France in a final played on home soil in Curitiba.

This defeat, however, is now driving the Brazilian men’s volleyball team in their quest to win the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League. Brazil are hungry to become the winners of the first edition of a competition which opens up a new era for volleyball.

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