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Brazil only team with two victories as Grand Champions Cup moves to Tokyo

 
Brazil head coach Bernardo Rezende was visibly happy with his team's performance as the South Americans claimed their second victory in the tournament before moving to Tokyo for the second stage of the tournament
Kyoto, Japan, November 20, 2013 – After two rounds Brazil are the sole side with a perfect record of two victories in as many matches as the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup heads to Tokyo for another three days packed with world-class volleyball coming up from Friday through Sunday, November 24.

On Wednesday Brazil claimed a straight victory over USA (31-29, 25-23, and 25-23) at the end of a very close game which felt, according to their mentor Bernardo Rezende, like a tie-breaker. To open the programme of the second day at Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium Iran needed five sets to eventually upset Italy (26-24, 16-25, 25-23, 23-25, and 15-12).
That was Iran’s second victory this year over the silver medallists from this year’s European Championship after the players mentored by Julio Velasco had achieved that same feat last June in the prelims of the World League. After losing to Italy on Tuesday, reigning Olympic and European champions Russia – who are making their first appearance in the competition since the Grand Champions Cup was incepted in 1993 – got back on track by routing hosts Japan in straight sets (25-16, 25-17, and 25-18).

Brazil top the provisional standing with six points, Italy follows in second place with four while Russia and USA are matched having three points so far, with Iran following in fifth place with two after today's victory over Italy. Japan is ranked sixth and last with zero points. The competition will resume on Friday, November 22, at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, with USA playing Italy, Iran taking on Russia and Japan going for another mission impossible as they get to test the likes of Brazil who are vying for their third consecutive title – and fourth overall – in the World Grand Champions Cup.

The Italians, who picked up an impressive game one win against Russia to open the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup, faced a determined Iran team who were coming off a loss against Brazil. These teams had played five times before, with Italy coming out on top in four of those contests, most recently winning 3–2 in World League competition in Sassari. But Iran came to play at Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium, taking a tough match over Italy 3–2 (26–24, 16–25, 25–23, 23–25, 15–12).

Leading the way for Iran was Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi, who put up an incredible defensive effort, with eight of his 17 scores coming from blocks. Italy had five players in double digit scoring, led by Jiri Kovar, also with 17 points.

Iran coach Julio Velasco said: “We are very happy because we beat Italy, and they are always one of the best teams. In the second and third set, their block caused many problems for us. This time we could continue to play and adjust, and resolve problems. In service and reception our team was better. We received their strong service well and that made a difference at the end of the match.”

Italy coach Mauro Berruto commented: “Most importantly I have to congratulate the team from Iran. We knew them well having played two matches in the World League in June and July. It’s always a fight like tonight, so we respect them a lot. It’s always extremely difficult. I have to say I admire them, the way the play. They wish to show their best, and we have to learn from this kind of attitude. The meaning of this tournament for us is to give this kind of experience to our young players.”

Both Brazil and the USA were winners on day one of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup in Kyoto, with victories over Iran and Japan respectively. Going into their second match of the tournament, the two teams had faced each other 64 times in international play, with Brazil winning 40 of those contests, most recently with a 3-0 World League victory in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil would win this game as well, but it was a terrific struggle, taking the match 3-0 (31-29, 25-23, 25-23). Leading Brazil in scoring in this match was Mauricio Borges Almeida Silva with 13 points, supported by Wallace De Souza with 12. For the USA, it was Matthew Anderson again leading the way, with 17 scores in a losing effort.

Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende said:” We played a three set match but felt like a tie breaker. We fought for each point… we had the advantage and they recovered, then they had the advantage and we recovered. This was a great match with systems working well on both sides. I’m still looking for Lucas’s service, but we managed to play without key weapons. Lucarelli and Mauricio have a heavy weight to carry, but they made me proud. But I need more from my leaders, and I’d like Lucas to be more competitive.”

USA captain Sean Rooney said: “Obviously that match was difficult for us. It was one of those matches where you almost feel better when they crush you. We know what we could have done to make it better, to turn things in our favour. You almost want to start practicing right away to try and fix it. We know what we have to do, and now it’s time to move on and play the next match. What sticks out to me was in the second set when we got going, even though we were winning, we were almost scoring and it crept into our side-out game a little. Right now we need to talk about that. But this sort of match can light a fire under you, and we’re going to be right there in the next game.”

Coming off a disappointing loss against the Italians on the opening day of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup, Russia looked for a better effort against host Japan. Historically, Russia has dominated head-to-head competition with Japan, winning 56 of 66 total contests. This match was no different, as the Russians made short work of the host Japan team, much to the disappointment of the fans in Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium. They took the match in straight sets (25-16, 25-17, and 25-18). Russia was led by Dmitriy Ilinykh who scored 12 points in the victory, including three blocks. He was supported by Alexey Spiridonov with 10, who won the player of the match award. Leading all scorers was Japan’s Kunihiro Shimizu, who scored 14 for Japan. Russia out-blocked the host team by a count of 15 to 5.

Russia head coach Andrey Voronkov said: “Japan played good especially in defence but we responded with good attacks. Our block worked just fine tonight and I am happy with our performance. It was not easy for us to stand the atmosphere in the sports hall but we adjusted to it as well and we won the game.”

Top Scorer by Day
21 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Japan on 19-11-13
17 – Mohammad Mousavi of Iran v Italy, Jiri Kovar of Italy v Iran, Matthew Anderson of USA v Brazil on 20-11-13

Top Scoring Performances
21 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Japan on 19-11-13
20 – Ivan Zaytsev of Italy v Russia on 19-11-13
19 – Wallace de Souza of Brazil v Iran on 19-11-13
18 – Maxwell Holt of USA v Japan on 19-11-13

Top Blocking Performances
8 – Maxwell Holt of USA v Japan on 19-11-13
8 – Mohammad Mousavi of Iran v Italy on 20-11-13
5 – Sidnei Dos Santos Jr. of Brazil v Iran on 19-11-13
4 – David Lee of USA v Japan on 19-11-13
4 – Emanuele Birarelli of Italy v Iran on 20-11-13

Top Serving Performances
5 – Farhad Ghaemi of Iran v Italy on 20-11-13
3 – Jiri Kovar of Italy v Iran on 20-11-13

Top Team-Blocking Performances
17 – USA v Japan on 19-11-13
15 – Russia v Japan on 20-11-13 
14 – Iran v Italy on 20-11-13
12 – Brazil v Iran on 19-11-13
11 – Italy v Iran on 20-11-13 

Top Team-Serving Performances
9 – Italy v Iran on 20-11-13
8 – Iran v Italy on 20-11-13
5 – USA v Brazil on 20-11-13
5 – Russia v Japan on 20-11-13

Highest Scoring Sets
31-29 Brazil v USA (1st set) on 20-11-13
28-26 Italy v Russia (1st set) on 19-11-13

Highest Scoring Matches
214 – Iran v Italy (26-24, 16-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-12) on 20-11-13
195 – Italy v Russia (28-26, 25-20, 19-25, 27-25) on 19-11-13



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