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Brazil aims to remain unbeaten against Finland

Wing-spiker Thiago Alves (left) and opposite Rivaldo helped Brazil overcome Poland last weekend

Brasilia, Brazil, June 17, 2009 – One of the three unbeaten teams remaining in the FIVB World League 2009 after opening weekend, reigning World Champion Brazil is ready to host Finland on Friday (June 19th) and Saturday (June 20th). The matches will be played at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium, in Brasilia, and both are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. (local time).

After beating Poland 3-1 and 3-0 on the first weekend, Brazil leads pool D with six points, while Finland, who lost to Venezuela 3-0 before beating the South American 3-1, is in third place with three points.

The matches against Poland showed the world a new generation of Brazilian players, led by middle-blocker Lucas Saatkamp and wing-spiker Thiago Alves. However, for the matches against the Finns, there are expectations that captain Giba and middle-blocker Rodrigao will make their season debuts.

"I cannot guarantee that they will play in these matches, but the possibilities are good. Giba is in good shape", said Brazilian Head Coach Bernardo Rezende.

While Brazil may play with its captain, Finland will be without its main players as setter Mikko Esko and wing-spikers Tuomas Sammelvuo and Olli Kunnari will not play the matches in Brazilian capital.

"We can go to Brazil without pressure after winning in Venezuela on Sunday. The feeling on this young team is high at the moment and we are all waiting eagerly to meet Brazil at Nilson Nelson on Friday and Saturday", said Finnish captain Jukka Lehtonen.

Bernardo Rezende believes that the Finnish Team will lack speed without its main setter.

"Finland has an experienced team. They achieved fourth place in the last European Championship, overcoming traditional teams such as Bulgaria. They will not have their main players, setter Mikko Esko and wing-spiker Tuomas Sammelvuo. I do not know their other setter, but Esko puts speed in the game. Without him, they may lose agility", analyzed Bernardo.

Finland Head Coach Mauro Berruto expects the match against Brazil and the experience of playing in front of its fans will help his team develop/.

"It is a unique opportunity to play volleyball in Brazil. Of course Brazil is the favorite, but we will go there to give our best and continue our process of improvement. It is a great moment again for our national team", added Berruto.



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