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Best ever finish for Portugal

Lausanne, Swtizerland, July 6, 2005 – Portugal’s fifth place finish in the 2005 World League represents their best ever result in the competition from six attempts.

The world number 18 played some exceptional Volleyball under new coach Orlando Samuels, making a substantial improvement on their previous results where they finished 10th in 1999 and from 2001 -2004 recorded 13th, 13th, 13th and 10th place finishes.
Pic: Captain João Jose was Portugal's leading star once again
In Pool A of the Intercontinental Round, where defending champions and world number one Brazil, in the end, comfortably won the group and the ticket to the final round, Portugal were one of the surprise packages, recording their best ever win-loss record (6-6), finishing ahead of Venezuela (5-7) and Japan (2-10) while also beating Brazil for the first ever time in their history.

With captain João Jose leading from the front, Portugal were a completely new team from years gone by. At home they were near on unbeatable winning five of their six matches, while they managed to pick up one away victory at Venezuela. At the halfway stage of the competition they were 5-1 including three successive 3-0 victories and despite two disappointing defeats at the hands of the previously winless Japanese side on the final weekend, Portugal completed a superb campaign.

This is illustrated in the Best Player rankings of the Intercontinental Round with Jose finishing as the Best Blocker, Nuno Pinheiro this in the Best Setter rankings, Hugo Gaspar fourth in the Best Scorers and ninth in the Best Spikers, Carlos Teixeira fifth in the Best Receivers and sixth in the Best Diggers and André Lopes seventh in the Best Servers.
"Our team is more mature with better tactics and technically," Samuels said while José added; "We showed, once again, that our team is improving and gaining maturity."
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