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Despite having “thrown out some of the old laundry,” Brazil still heads into the 2005 World League as hot favourites to defend their title with their squad still containing plenty of talent and charisma.

The Olympic and world champions are missing captain Nalbert, and veterans Giovane and Mauricio but with the likes of Giba, André, Sérgio, Ricardo and Anderson still gracing the court Brazil still have plenty of class to call upon and will be, not only a joy to watch, but still tough to beat as they endeavour to win their third successive World League title and fourth in five years.

And with the inspirational coach Bernardo “Bernardinho” Rezende still in charge, there is very little room to doubt that Brazil’s magic form – which has seen them win every men’s international Volleyball title available since 2002 – will suddenly dry up.

Right now, the South Americans are in a very rich vein of form but this moment of success has been built up from over the years.

Brazil has been the South American No. 1 power since 1951 when they won the continent's championship for the first time. The winning streak continues and South America is yet to produce a team capable of challenging the unprecedented dominance of the country that has claimed the continental title 24 consecutive times. Brazil ended a spellbinding 2004 season ranked as the world’s best Volleyball team with every men's Volleyball title - the Olympic gold medal, the World League, the 2003 World Cup and the 2002 World Championship - in their trophy cabinet.

The country's Volleyball excellence, however, has a far greater reach. The Brazilians competed at the World Championship for the first time in 1956 in France and finished 11th. And while it took some time for them to catch up with the leading Volleyball nations, from the 1978 championship in Italy onwards, Brazil has always been among the world's best.

At the 1982 Worlds in Argentina, they won the silver medal, then finished fourth three times in a row in France, 1986, Brazil, 1990, and 1998 in Japan before finally collecting gold for the first time in Argentina in 2002 when they beat Russia 3-2 in a nail-biting and dramatic final. The team put on an outstanding performance there as a complete unit, but also had its stars, among them Andre Nascimento who was awarded the best spiker of the tournament and Maurico Lima who was named the best setter. The World Championship victory was yet another prize for Brazil's impressive collection of major international titles.

In 1992, Brazil won the Olympic tournament in Barcelona after they had also won the silver medal earlier in Los Angeles in 1984. They also have an impressive record at the World Cup having only missed one tournament - the first in 1965 - and collecting gold in 2003 and two bronze medals in 1981 and 1995 in the process. Brazil is also one of the countries to have participated in all editions of the World League.

Bernardinho, who took over the national squad in 2001, led Brazil to victory in the prestigious competition in the same year and in 2003 and 2004 and although his team produced more of the same magic in 2002 when the finals were held in Brazil, they missed out on the prize in the final to Russia.

But as World Championship winners, Olympic champions and World Cup and World League title holders Brazil are definitely red hot favourites going into the 2005 World League.

Overall Standings for Brazil
World League Played Total Matches played Win Lost % Wins
15 248 186 62 75.0