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Defending champions lose to leave Poland only side unbeaten

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 5, 2005 – World number one and 2003-2004 World League champions Brazil lost their first World League match in 25 games dating back to 2003 after Portugal upset the Olympic and world champions in an historic straight sets (25-22, 25-20, 25-23) defeat in Lisbon on Sunday to end round two of the 2005 World League Intercontinental Second Round.
Pic: Victory for Portugal
After Saturday’s 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-23) win to Brazil, Portugal, ranked 18th in the world, played the match of their lives, presenting their enthusiastic fans with their first World League win over Brazil and with numbers that don't let any doubts about their superiority. Brazilian coach Bernardinho introduced some new players in Joao Paulo and Renato, but in the end he had to call on his best players, nevertheless that wasn't enough to win against an exceptional home team performance.

"We played much better (than in Saturday’s match) and took advantage of the replacement of several players from Brazil,” Portugal coach Orlando Samuels said. “I think this was the best match we played and deserved this victory once we were at our best level."

Portugal captain Joao José agreed. "We were very nervous yesterday, but today we played much better. We had never taken two sets from Brazil and now we won the match. I am very proud.”

Bernardinho applauded his opponents. "Portugal served very well and gave us many difficulties in our attack,” he said. “Brazil deserves some critics but Portugal deserves many complements due to the great manner of their victory."

Brazil and Portugal are now joint leaders in Pool A with three wins and one defeat followed by Venezuela, who have two wins and two defeats, and Japan, who are yet to win a match. Following a 3-1 (22-25, 28-26, 25-21, 25-21) win on Saturday, Venezuela beat Japan 3-0 (31-29, 25-22, 25-21) in Caracas on Sunday.

Meanwhile, in Pool B, Cuba lost their unbeaten record in Italy but still top the group after losing their second match to the Azzurri 3-1 (25-18, 25-20, 19-25, 25-16). After Friday’s 3-1 (24-26, 25-18, 25-20, 25-22) victory, Cuba made too many mistakes on Sunday and Italy’s experienced players Alessandro Fei and Luigi Mastrangelo made their presence felt at the most crucial times.

Italy is second in the group with two wins from two matches, equal with France who split their matches with Bulgaria in Nantes (3-2 (25-20, 18-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-13) and 0-3 (24-26, 19-25, 15-25)), who are bottom of the group with one victory.

Poland are the only unbeaten side left in the competition after completing two efficient victories over Greece in Lodz, 3-2 (17-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20, 15-13) on Friday and 3-0 (26-24, 25-17, 27-25) on Sunday. They lead Pool C ahead of Greece with two wins and two defeats and Serbia and Montenegro and Argentina who have one win apiece.

Serbia & Montenegro beat Argentina 3-1 (25-23, 25-20, 19-25, 26-24) on Friday before Argentina reversed the result on Sunday in front of their home fans with an incredible 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-14, 15-11) victory.

The top team from each pool at the end of the Intercontinental Round will advance to the final round in Belgrade and will join hosts Serbia and Montenegro. In the event Serbia and Montenegro, who automatically qualify for the final round as hosts, win Pool C, the second-placed team will advance to the final round.
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