Lausanne, Switzerland, August 21, 2013 – A repeat of the 2012 Olympic Games final between Brazil and USA is the stand out encounter on the opening day of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals in Sapporo, Japan from August 28 to September 1, following the confirmation of the schedule on Wednesday.
Olympic champions Brazil beat USA 3-1 (11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17) in London and next Wednesday’s encounter at 06:30 (GMT) (or 15:30 local time) is the second time the two teams have played since that memorable match but first time with major honours at stake.
Brazil, who finished second in the Preliminary Round standings with 23 points from eight wins and one defeat, beat USA in Campinas, Brazil in the first week of the Preliminary Round 3-1 (17-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20). A new-look USA team finished fourth in the Preliminary Round standings with 22 points with the same win-loss record as Brazil.
Prior to the London final, world No. 1 USA had won the previous five matches against world No. 2 Brazil on their way to three successive World Grand Prix titles from 2010 to 2012 with record eight-time World Grand Prix winners Brazil finishing second every time. Brazil had won the World Grand Prix every year prior from 2004 except in 2007 when they finished fifth.
It is the second successive year that USA and Brazil play on the opening day of the World Grand Prix with USA taking the honours in last year’s opening match in Ningbo, China 3-2 (25-19, 25-20, 20-25, 13-25, 15-13).
The opening match of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals at 04:30 (GMT) (or 13:00 local time) sees Preliminary Round winners China, who were undefeated in pool play, take on European champions Serbia.
China and Serbia have met once before in the tournament during the third week of the Preliminary Round when China managed to beat Serbia for the first time in the World Grand Prix with a 3-2 win after two previous defeats.
Wednesday's opening match is a repeat of the 2011 World Grand Prix Finals pool play encounter, which Serbia won 3-2 on their way to an impressive third place finish in their debut appearance in the competition.
China, who won their only World Grand Prix title in 2013 but their last of eight medals in 2007 (silver), qualified in impressive style for the Finals with an unbeaten record from nine matches, amassing a total of 25 points to top the leader board and secure their ticket to Japan. Having won seven of their nine matches in the Preliminary Round, Serbia finished third with 23 points.
The third and last match of the first day at 10:10 (GMT) (or 19:10 local time) sees world No. 4 Italy, who finished fifth in the Preliminary Round standings with 21 points from seven wins and two defeats, play world No. 3 Japan, who also managed seven wins from their nine Preliminary Rounds matches.
Italy have two silver and four bronze World Grand Prix medals to their name all won between 2004 and 2010 while Japan have never medalled at the World Grand Prix.
All six teams will play each other once in pool play over five days before the table leaders will be crowned 2013 World Grand Prix champions.
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