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Brazil count on fan support at World League Finals

 
Curitiba, Brazil, July 7, 2017 – Reigning Olympic champions Brazil are one win away from becoming the first team to win 20 medals in the FIVB Volleyball World League. Playing the Finals at home in Curitiba, the world ranking leaders look forward to end a six-year drought and climb to the top of the podium at the Arena da Baixada stadium on Saturday (July 8).

In the first semifinal match of the tournament, Brazil will face the United States at 15:05 (local time) this Friday (July 7).

With nine golds, Brazil is the winningest nation at the FIVB men’s premier annual competition. Their last title, though, dates back to 2010, when they defeated Russia in Cordoba, Argentina. Seven years later, setter Bruno Rezende and middle-blocker Lucas Saatkamp are the only remaining players from that roster.

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A leader of the new Brazilian team, Bruno thinks they need to find a better balance in the semifinals, taking as an example the dramatic 3-2 win against Russia on Thursday.

“It’s a different moment, a new team”, he commented. “We are still getting used to each other. We’ve oscillated a lot during our first games and that frustrated us in some moments. We need to fix this situation, since there will be no more room for mistakes in the semifinals.”

The setter pointed to serving as USA's most dangerous weapon in the semifinal. "They are probably the team that has adjusted best to the stadium. They are serving really well and they can put us in trouble with that."

Playing the Finals at home has not always beneficial for Brazil as their only home title dates back to 1993, in Sao Paulo. Since then, they have hosted the deciding stage of the tournament in 2002, 2008 and 2015, finishing 2nd, 4th and 5th.



In Curitiba, their hopes are that the massive support of fans at the Arena da Baixada can take the team to an eagerly-awaited 10th gold.
The team had almost 25,000 fans behind it in the first two matches of the Final Round.

“We need to use the power of our fans to help us,” outside hitter Ricardo Lucarelli remarked. “We did it pretty well in the Olympic Games, when the fans did not stop pushing our team forward, and hopefully we’ll have even more people here supporting us.” 

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