Belo Horizonte, Brazil, July 15, 2009 - Two South
American showdowns between reigning world champion Brazil and Venezuela are the
highlights of the sixth and final weekend of Pool D action in the 2009 FIVB
The matches will be played Saturday and Sunday at
Mineirinho Gymnasium in Belo Horizonte. Both matches will start at 10 a.m.
The teams played twice last weekend in Caracas,
Venezuela, and Brazil won both in straight sets. Last season, Brazil and
Venezuela were in Pool A of the World League and Brazil won all four matches
between the teams.
With only a single loss to Finland at the tournament,
Brazil has already qualified for the Final Round of the competition to be
played in Serbia next week. The South Americans have amassed 27 points in Pool
D with a 9-1 record.
In a comfortable situation, Brazilian head coach Bernardo
Rezende will look to make a few minor adjustments in Belo Horizonte ahead in
preparation for the Final Round. The coach's goal in the matches against the
Venezuelans is to give some experience to the younger players on the team.
"We have done well in serving and blocking
especially. But that is in the past now. As we have already qualified, I can
change some players. It is important to experiment a little and also allow some
players to find a good rhythm," Rezende said.
Opposite Rivaldo said his teammates would not lose their
focus as they attempt to keep improving ahead of the Final Six.
"We will be constantly thinking about how to improve
our game. No one in this team is going to sit back. Achieving the qualification
for the Final Round was only the first step on the way to our bigger goal. We
are going to keep working hard to conclude the second part of our objective,
which is to get in good shape for the Final Round," Rivaldo added.
Venezuela is on the opposite end of the spectrum from
Brazil. The team has only won one of its first 10 matches and sits in last
place with 5 points. Already eliminated from the Final Six, Venezuela will be
looking to put in a good showing against the mighty Brazilians.
"Venezuela showed that it can play good Volleyball
in the World League," said Venezuela coach Jose A. Gutierrez. "We
know our potential, but we still need to work hard to reach the level of teams
like Brazil. We hope to exit the 2009 World League with two good performances
so we can return to the tournament to fight for better results next year."
In the second match against Brazil, Venezuela had some
good moments and almost won the first two sets. That is level of performance
that captain Andy Rojas wants his teammates to reproduce in the matches in Belo
"Our team is used to playing at the level you saw in
the second match in Caracas. I think we can reach this level in Belo Horizonte
and, if that happens, we have a good chance of producing a close competition
against the Brazilians," Rojas said.