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Brazil wins World Grand Champions Cup with five-set victory over Italy

Brazilian players celebrate their 3-2 victory over Italy and their third straight - and fourth overall - World Grand Champions Cup title since the competition was incepted back in 1993

Tokyo, Japan, November 24, 2013 - Brazil defeated Italy in an epic five-set battle (25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 20-25, 15-11) to claim the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup title on Sunday at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

The victory improved Brazil's record to 4-1, while Italy finished with a 2-3 mark.

The match marked the third time that Brazil and Italy have met in the World Grand Champions Cup and 51st overall. Brazil entered with a 30-20 lead alltime.

Wallace De Souza led Brazil with a match-high 28 points. Lucas Saatkamp added 21 for the winners.

Ivan Zaytsev was valiant in defeat, scoring 27 for Italy. Filippo Lanza, Emanuele Birarelli, and Thomas Beretta all chipped in with 13 each.

Coming off Saturday's disappointing five-set loss to Russia, Brazil was aggressive from the start of the match and kept the pressure on early in the contest.

Italy fought back when it appeared it was on the verge of defeat in the third set.

Brazil was three points from victory in the third set only to see Italy come back and take five of the final six points to claim the set.

Wallace fired a spike wide as Italy moved out to a 5-3 lead in the first set. Lucas served into the net and Italy was up 7-5. Thomas Beretta's spike sent Italy into the first TTO with an 8-6 edge. Lanza's spike made it 10-8 for Italy. Brazil tied it 10-10 on a nice block by Lucas. Ricardo Lucarelli's service ace moved Brazil in front 12-11. Kovar sent a serve long and it was 15-14 for Brazil. Zaytsev then equalized with a spike. Beretta served into the net and Brazil was on top 16-15 at the second TTO.

Zaytsev served into the net and Brazil led 17-16 as the match stayed close. Zaytsev soared for a spike and it was 19-18 for Brazil. A service ace by Lucas gave Brazil a three-point lead at 21-18 and Italy called a timeout. A spike by Evandro Guerra off a nice back set made it 22-19. Luca Vettori served into the net and Brazil was two points from the set at 23-20. Lanza's spike made it 23-21. A spike by Wallace gave Brazil set point at 24-21. Brazil closed it out 25-22. Wallace had eight points in the set.

Lucas put Brazil up 5-3 in the second set with a spike. A return error by Italy made it 7-4 for Brazil. The South Americans were up 8-5 at the first TTO. Italy sent a spike long and Brazil moved out to a four-point lead at 10-6. It was 11-6 after a blcok by Wallace. Zaytsev sent a spike long and Brazil was on top 13-7. Wallace followed with a spike and Brazil was starting to pull away. Wallace rose for another spike and Brazil went into the second TTO up 16-9.

Italy took a timeout while trailing 18-10. Italy responded with three straight points out of the timeout and then Brazil called one of its own. A block by Beretta pulled Italy within four at 18-14. Ludovico Dolfo fired a spike long and it was 20-14. A Lanza spike cut Italy's deficit to three at 21-18 and Brazil took another timeout. Wallace spiked again and it was 22-18. A Zaytsev dink took the count to 22-19. Ricardo responded with a spike and Brazil was closing in on the set at 23-19. Emanuele Birarelli made a nice block and Italy moved within two at 23-21. A Lucas spike gave Brazil set point at 24-21. Lucas gave Brazil the set 25-22 with a spike.

Ricardo's spike put Brazil in front 5-2 in the third set. A reception error by Mauricio Borges put Italy within one at 6-5. Italy took the lead 7-6 on a return error by Wallace. Italy led 8-6 at the first TTO. A service ace by Michele Baranowicz put Italy up 10-8. Zaytsev hammered a spike and it was 13-11 for Italy. A spike by Wallace evened the score 14-14. Zaytsev answered with an impressive spike for 15-14. Dolfo's spike gave Italy a 16-15 lead at the second TTO.

Zaytsev gave Italy an 18-17 edge with a spike. A service ace by Rapahel Vieira put Brazil up 19-18. Mario Da Silva's spike made it 20-19. Brazil made it 22-20 after a return error by Italy. Zaytsev spiked for 22-21. Beretta block evened it at 22-22 and Brazil called a timeout. Beretta's block put Italy back ahead 23-22. Wallace knotted it with a spike. Wallace missed with a dink and Italy had set point at 24-23. Italy took the set 25-23 on a powerful serve by Birarelli.

Ricardo's spike staked Brazil to a 5-4 lead in the fourth set. A Zaytsev spike made it 7-6 for Italy. Zaytsev spike again and Italy was on top 8-6 at the first TTO. Brazil misplayed a reception and Italy went ahead 9-6. Zaytsev connected again and the Italian margin was 10-6. A huge serve by Wallace caromed off libero Salvatore Rossini to make it 13-12. Italy was up 16-13 at the second TTO.

With Italy leading 18-14, Brazil took a timeout. Wallace sent a spike long and the Italian lead was 19-15. Dolfo then delivered a service ace and a fifth set seemed a certainty. A spike by Ricardo pulled Brazil within two at 21-19. Zaytsev made it 22-19 with a spike. Wallace missed a crosscourt spike and it was 23-19. Birarelli came up with a clutch block and it was set point for Italy at 24-19. Birarelli gave Italy the set 25-20 with a thunderous spike.

Zaytsev missed a spike and Brazil took a 3-2 lead in the final set. Wallace followed with an ace but appeared to sprain his left ankle in the process. A Lucas block made it 5-2 and Italy called a timeout. Ricardo's block put the count at 6-2. Lanza's spike made it 7-4. Brazil was up 8-4 at the changeover. Zaytsev's spike pulled Italy within two at 9-7. Another Zaytsev spike made it 10-9 and Italy tried to stay close. A block by Eder Carbonera put Brazil three points from victory at 12-9. A Lucas spike made it match point at 14-10. Lucas soared for a final spike and Brazil took the title 15-11.



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