Belo Horizonte, Brazil, June, 8, 2011 – The last two Olympic champions in Men´s Volleyball Brazil (Athens 2004) and USA (Beijing 2008) will clash this weekend in the 2011 FIVB Volleyball World League in Belo Horizonte as the third weekend of the premier annual men’s volleyball tournament continues.
This will be the first official match between both teams since the final of the 2008 Olympic Games.
The nine time champions of the World League Brazil will take on current the Olympic champions on June 11 and 12.
The hosts will be eager to maintain their perfect run in the competition this year and are likely to view USA as their biggest challenges in Pool A. Up until now the hosts have a 4-0 win-loss record and hold top spot in Pool A with 12 points. USA is currently second with a 3-1 win-loss record and nine points.
Brazilian coach Bernardinho expects a tough match this weekend and according the legendary coach the United Sates has a lot of experience and talented players.
“They kept almost the same group from the last Olympic Games,” he said. “Stanley is great server and he can make the difference. It is an open game without favourite. They lost Ball who is an amazing player but their team is still really strong. We want use these games to guarantee our classification for the Final Round.”
On the Brazilian team, wing spiker João Paulo Tavares lives with the hope of turning out for the side in his hometown. Tavares is the only player in the Brazilian squad from the region.
“It is always a great satisfaction to play at home,” Tavares said. “I didn´t have the opportunity to play for a local club because I went to play in São Paulo when I was really young. It is good because my family will have the chance to see me playing for the national team.”
Elsewhere the United States will want to improve their win-loss record. The Americans beat Brazil in there last major match at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, denying the current world No.1’s a gold medal.
For the outside hitter Priddy, the Brazilian team has got better over the last two years. “They have a true opposite,” Priddy said. “They were struggling at that position. With Leandro Vissotto, since I have been playing internationally, they really have a true opposite that can hit high balls and get them out of bad situations. Their setters have that much more experience. The rise of Murilo is significant. They always have world-class, elite outside hitters in the wings”.
However, Priddy affirms that USA needs to be more focused on their own game.
“It’s interesting because I really think that given the first two weekends, the best thing we can do is try to improve on taking care of the ball on our side of the net,” Priddy added. “We still have a lot of things on our side of the net that can be cleaned up: free-ball passes, transition hitting and setting. Unforced errors are not something we want to be in the fabric of what this team is made of.”