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2017 Review: Brazil claim fifth World Grand Champions Cup title

Brazil celebrate winning the 2017 edition of the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Grand Champions Cup
Lausanne, Switzerland, January 16, 2018 - Brazil have enjoyed considerable success at the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Grand Champions Cup. And the South American country's performances in September earned coach Renan Dal Zotto's men a fifth title in 2017 - the fourth in a row.

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Brazil had never finished lower than second in the competition
(1993 and 2001) and lived up to expectations when they took their place on the top step on the podium in Japan. The five other world-class teams also participating in the competition ensured that Brazil's route to victory, however, was fraught with difficulty.

The Brazilians' opening match immediately threw up a repeat of the final of the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League, against France. On home soil in Curitiba, Olympic champions Brazil had suffered a disappointing defeat when they went down 3-2 to the French. However, they made amends in emphatic fashion, winning 3-0 at the Grand Champions Cup.

Their second match of the tournament saw Brazil take on Italy in a repeat of the Olympic final in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. This time, it was the Italians who came out on top 3-2.

The Azzurri had previously lost their first match 3-2 to Iran. This proved to be the decisive defeat in their battle for the title. At the end of the tournament, three teams had four wins to their name. The trophy went to Brazil who had a better set difference than the Italians. Iran – whose only defeat was a 3-0 to Brazil – finished third.

FIVB Volleyball Men’s Grand Champions Cup 2017 Results/Overview
FIVB Volleyball Men’s Grand Champions Cup 2017 Statistics

“Overall, I think this has been a fantastic competition. The technical level was very high and we had a rematch of the Olympic final, so being able to win such a title makes me very happy,” said Brazil coach Dal Zotto.

Setter Bruno Rezende added: “We’ve added younger players to the Olympic team and this new generation of players has started to blend well. It’s a good start to our campaign for Tokyo 2020.”

It was the experienced players who led the way, however, including Brazil's Ricardo Lucarelli (70 points). Lucarelli was named MVP at the end of the competition. The tournament’s top scorer was Italy's Luca Vettori with 93 points.

Despite finishing second, the Italians were upbeat. Italian coach Gianlorenzo Blengini said: “Even when we were down, we fought hard to the end and because of this I’m very satisfied with my players. They went through a lot this year so they deserve it more than anything.”

The Iranian team were even more delighted with the first podium finish.

Iran captain Mir Saeid Marouflakrani said: “Iran has had success in junior world tournaments, but never in a senior one, so this makes it important. Our people followed our matches and enjoyed them, but without a medal there was something wrong, but now we’ve done that.”

Behind the USA, 2017 World League winners France had to settle for fifth. Winless hosts Japan propped up the table, but still received praise from multiple winners Brazil. Bruno Rezende said: “Japan are in a new cycle and they seem to have some new, younger and taller players. The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will be very interesting.” Brazil will have their sights set on successfully defending their Olympic title when that competition comes around in a little over two years.

2017 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Grand Champions Cup - Dream Team
Most Valuable Player:
Ricardo Lucarelli (BRA)
Best Outside Spikers: Ricardo Lucarelli (BRA), Milad Ebadipour (IRI)
Best Middle Blockers: Matteo Piano (ITA), Lucas Saatkamp (BRA)
Best Setter: Simone Giannelli (ITA)
Best Opposite Spiker: Matthew Anderson (USA)
Best Libero: Satoshi Ide (JPN)


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