match between two giants of the sport – Brazil and USA
in Campinas, Brazil on Sunday. It is a contest which
spectators have come to expect, as the gold medal match
over the past three years has featured these two teams.
On each of these occasions USA came out on top, with
record winners Brazil having to settle for second place.
However, the South Americans, ranked second in the
world, have shown some signs of a comeback with a
victory in the 2012 Olympic final against world No.
USA. No doubt, Brazil are determined to take matters
into their own hands and regain their World Grand Prix
title this year.
History speaks in favour of Brazil succeeding in their quest
of breaking USA’s winning streak, as never before has a
team won the FIVB World Grand Prix four times in a row.
And the fact that Japan is hosting the Finals speaks in
favour of a Brazilian victory: the last three times the World
Grand Prix Finals have been held in the land of the rising
sun, the South American team have emerged triumphant.
So the US will have to work hard to buck the trend,
especially since the team has undergone a major change
in personnel. “King Karch” Kiraly, who won Olympic gold
in the hall in 1984 and 1988, and added a third gold
medal in beach volleyball in 1996, has taken over from
former coach Hugh McCutcheon.Also the team is missing
many of its top performers from last year, including
Destinee Hooker, Megan Hodge, Logan Tom and Tayyiba
Haneef-Park. But even with the number of new faces on
the team, USA were in dazzling form during their three
friendly matches against Japan. However, the same can
also be said of Brazil, who presented the Netherlands with
no chance of winning their three friendly matches.
Olympic champions Brazil still have the majority of their
big names on board as they begin preparations for Rio
But of the best-known Brazilians, Jaqueline and
Paula Pequeno are missing from the team that, with eight
victories to its name, has won the World Grand Prix more
times than anyone else.The top favourites will once again
be coached by the successful Zé Roberto.
The 2013 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix is set
to provide fans around the world with action
guaranteed to keep them at the edge of their
seats. The Preliminary Round will take place
over three weeks, from August 2 to 18, where
the 20 teams will compete for the six places in
the Finals.
The World Grand Prix Finals will return to Japan for the
first time since 2009 and will take place in Sapporo from
August 28 to September 1. Japan has hosted the World
Grand Prix Finals four times in the past, with Sapporo
being the fifth host city after Tokyo (2009), Yokohama
Sendai (2005) and Kobe (1997).
It is a tournament full of new records as this year’s
preliminary matches will take place in 13 different
countries and will feature 20 teams for the first time
in the tournament’s history dating back to 1993. USA,
Brazil, Thailand, Turkey, China and Cuba qualified for
last year’s Finals, as well as Algeria, Argentina, Bulgaria,
Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy,
Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Poland, Puerto Rico,
Russia and Serbia. That is four more teams than last
year. Following the Preliminary Round, the hosts and the
remaining top five teams will qualify for the Finals.
USA and Brazil
a familiar contest
The first week of the Preliminary Round starts with a