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Brazil looks to hold onto winning record at Men’s World Grand Champions Cup

No.1 Brazil will try to keep their winning record against Russia, who defeated them in the 2013 World League

Lausanne, Switzerland, November 8, 2013 - With the sixth edition of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup due to be held in Japan from November 19 to 24 at the Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium and Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, takes a look at the key event for the top teams from the confederations.

Brazil and Russia will be the teams to watch during the five-day tournament. While Brazil heads into the tournament in the No. 1 position, the team has been battling with Russia all year, who follows close behind with 342 points in the FIVB Senior World Ranking Men, just three points behind Brazil.

Russia also outlasted Brazil in the 2013 FIVB World League in July, with a 3-0 win in the finals. "I never imagined that we would win 3-0 against Brazil and that the match wouldn't be difficult. It was expected to be a big and exhausting fight because our biggest rivals were the Brazilians,” Russia’s Alexey Spiridinov said after the match.

But Russia will have their work cut out for them if they want to defeat the World No. 1 and two-time defending champions, Brazil, who have participated in every edition of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup, and are the most successful nation in the tournament – winning in 1997, 2005 and the most recent edition in 2009. Brazil also won silver medals in 1993 and 2001.

Italy and Cuba are the only other countries to have won the event.

No. 12 Iran will also try to make a name for themselves at the Grand Champions Cup, following an impressive ninth place finish in their debut year in the FIVB World League. Coached by former Italian coach Julio Velasco, Iran’s team has made headlines this year due to their successes; including winning gold at the Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship, which awarded them their place at the Grand Champions Cup.

Italy will look to get their second Grand Champions Cup medal, after revealing glimpses of a possible revival of their glory days throughout the year, thanks to the team’s young and progressive players. The bronze medal winners in the 2012 London Olympics won their place in the tournament by winning silver at the 2013 CEV Men’s Volleyball European Championship.

Hosts Japan, who are the only other team besides Brazil to participate in every Grand Champions Cup event, will also look for success this year under Coach Gary Sato. The former USA men’s coach is revitalising the team through conventional techniques with his sights set on the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

No. 4 USA will work to prove their strength after finishing the NORCECA Continental Finals with a gold medal, following a disappointing sixth place in the 2013 FIVB World League. Under coach John Speraw, the team is slowly getting in top form and are hoping to reinstate their reign, with sights also set on the 2016 Olympics. The team won silver in 2005’s Grand Champions Cup.

“The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup traditionally heralds the end of the international volleyball season and it has been renowned for always throwing up surprises,” said FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F°.

The FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup will directly follow the women’s tournament, which will also take place in Japan – from Nov.12 to 17.

Find more FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup information online

FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup tournament website

Facebook: FIVB Volleyball

Twitter: @FIVBMensGCC

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