Brazil’s Sada Cruzeiro win final ticket to the Club World Championship
The Brazilian team was favoured to win the title, not only because its roster included five Olympic champions but also because it was undefeated in the tournament winning all matches in straight sets. The Argentine team surprised them in the final, however, showing fierce resistance and winning the first set to earn vocal support from the Chilean fans in Linares. In the second and third sets the Brazilian team improved their serve and found their momentum. William gave great sets to both the wing spikers’ and centre players’ attacks.
Argentina coach Fabian Armoa got a red card in the third set, but after the game he said he was very satisfied with his team’s performance against a very powerful rival.
“The 21-18 lead in the final of the fourth set was not an advantage when facing a team that puts so much pressure,” said Armoa. “We knew we had to maintain the same rhythm throughout the match, but at the end they showed their best and we could not keep up with the pressure. We feel we did our utmost and I congratulate the Brazilian team.”
Marcelo Méndez, the Brazil coach who is himself Argentinian, was very happy with the end result.
“Our goal was fulfilled in a match that we won by a narrow margin,” said Méndez. “We knew it would be a very hard match, but the players answered very well and we won.”
Mendez has very clear that this qualification for the World Championship is a great responsibility.
“Here we had the pressure of being the favourite team. In Qatar we will not feel that pressure, but as other teams will be more confident they can defeat us we have to show that we prepared ourselves as best we can, and prove we will not be an easy team to defeat,” he said.
Huracanes of Venezuela took third place, denying the host team a chance to stand on the podium. They won 3-1 (25-20, 25-14, 20-25, 25-17), with Cristian Imhoff earning 16 points to top the list of scorers. Huracanes was stronger from the beginning, and Chile only found its momentum for a time in the third set.
Linares players said they were disappointed not to win any medals, but at the same time happy to have fought for it.
Esteban Grimalt, the best server of the competition, said: “it was not what we expected. The goal was to win a medal, but we showed that we grew through the tournament. We became a real team in a week of training with all 12 players together and that is important but no doubt we are sad.”
Harry Gomez from Huracanes pointed out: “I am very happy with this third place finish, although we could have played much better than we did today – it was only in some moments that we found our real rhythm. But let’s not forget that Huracanes have only been together one year and we’ve already become Venezuelan champion and the third team in South America – so this is an historic step for us. We are the first Venezuelan team to obtain a medal and now we have to think about the future, keep growing and keep working to win the South American Club Championship.”