Lausanne, Switzerland, August 19, 2014 – Defending champions and nine-time winners Brazil, and former winners China and Russia, lead the cast of finalists of the 22nd edition of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix in Tokyo, Japan.
Brazil, who are eyeing their 10th title in the World Grand Prix, have won all their Intercontinental Round matches, making them the team to beat in the premier annual women’s competition.
Last year’s second placers, China, will give Brazil a great challenge as they attempt to improve their record in their last three finals appearances. Russia, on the other hand, are aiming to get their fourth title since 2002.
Turkey will make their second Final Six appearance, after finishing third place in the World Grand Prix in 2012, while Belgium are following the footsteps of European neighbours Serbia as the second debutants to finish in the top six.
Meanwhile, Japan are not to be disregarded as the Asian squad came off an upbeat finish in Macau, beating Korea and China, and knocking-out last year’s third place finishers Serbia.
· Japan will be hosting the Finals of the World Grand Prix for the sixth time.
· This will be the second World Grand Prix Finals hosting for the capital city of Tokyo.
· China have finished in the top six in 20 of the 21 previous World Grand Prix editions; they only missed the top six in 2011.
· Belgium have won their last three World Grand Prix matches, but have never won four in a row.
· China and Belgium have never played each other in any tournament.
· Turkey have won World Grand Prix matches against former winners China, Cuba, Russia and USA.
· Brazil have won both of their World Grand Prix encounters with Turkey – 3-0 in 2008 and 3-1 in the 2012 Finals.
· Russia have finished runners-up five times, same as Brazil and China.
· Russia have won all four meetings with Japan in the World Grand Prix Finals in 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2009.
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