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Brazil and the Netherlands play for Pool A’s lead in Brasilia

Murilo (left) was the best player for Brazil in the first weekend of the World League as his side took on Bulgaria at home
Brasilia, Brazil, June 9 – FIVB World League defending champions Brazil and the Netherlands are set to face off this weekend in Brasilia as the two remaining unbeaten sides from Pool A continue the 2010 edition of the tournament on Saturday and Sunday at 7 pm local time.

After defeating Korea twice in straight-sets in Seoul, the Netherlands lead the group with six points. Brazil has five following a pair of tight games against Bulgaria, who have one point while Korea has none. Bulgaria and Korea will also play each other in Incheon, Korea this weekend.

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Brazil and the Netherlands have faced each other 54 times, with the South American side prevailing 35 times over 19. The most important meeting happened in Barcelona, in 1992, when Brazil defeated the Netherlands 3-0 to pick up their first Olympic gold medal. In the World League, Brazil have an 11-6 win record.

With 37 points scored and 80.95% receiving efficiency, wing-spiker Murilo Endres was Brazilian best player in the matches against Bulgaria and the Brazilian receiver wants to repeat the good performance in Brasilia.

"Last year was really good for me and I hope 2010 runs the same way,” he said. “That is all about my good moment out of the courts, with my marriage with Jacqueline (Brazilian female player) and my return to Brazil."

"The Netherlands missed the World League for the past few seasons before returning in 2009,” he added. “However, we know some of their players, who are young and have a great physical condition.”

Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende will be relieved to see middle-blocker Lucas, who injured his right ankle against Bulgaria, and setter Marlon, who has recovered from a hand injury, return. However, libero Sergio, middle-blocker Eder and opposite Joao Paulo will not be playing.

Netherlands' best player in the matches against the Koreans was wing-spiker Dick Kooy, who scored 35 points with 64.29% of success in spiking. However, the whole team’s performance was praised by coach Peter Blangé, who himself won gold for the Netherlands at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

"We played good matches against Korea, especially the second one,” he said. “Our attack is at a very high level and our spiking success rate was almost 70 percent, which was very high. We have worked hard to improve and now we are enjoying it.”.

The Dutch have won their last five matches in straight sets and despite Brazil’s strength in depth, they are likely to cause problems for the side.

  

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