Osaka, Japan, September 15, 2017 – Wallace De Souza and Lucas Saatkamp led Brazil in their 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-15) win over Iran in the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup at the Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on Friday.
Wallace and Lucas sparked Brazil’s offence from the start and finished with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Ricardo Lucarelli helped out on offence with 11 points for Brazil. Brazil had a total of 11 blocks to stop the Iranian hitters and their top scorer Milad Ebadipour was reduced to score only nine points.
Brazil improved their record to 29 wins and four defeats at the World Grand Champions Cup. After their 3-2 defeat against Italy, they bounced back to avoid back-to-back losses. They have never lost more than one match in this tournament in a single year.
Brazil utilised their middle and right-side hitters to score in clusters, while Iran did not have a good side-out game. Even though the Asian side found their rhythm to tie the score, Brazil still scored the last three points closed the opening set. Brazil used the same attack strategy, but implemented better defence that provided additional opportunities to counter-attack. The game plan worked for Brazil to secure the straight-set win.
Brazil captain Bruno Rezende: Today was our best performance in the tournament so far. The way we played against Italy was really frustrating. Today, we were able to concentrate I think we showed greater maturity. There were big points out there and we were able to win those. Also, we felt good out there and could play more in our Brazilian style. Tomorrow, we play a strong United States team, so hopefully we’ll play even better and win again.
Brazil coach Renan Dal Zotto: Today was a very important win. Prior to the match, I had doubts because Iran played great volleyball and gave their opponents a tough time in their previous two games. They play speedy volleyball and serve well. Today, their blocking was good and they have a good defensive system. They also have one of the best setters in the world. I thought it would be difficult to fully mark their attacks and we had to watch out for their counter-attacks, so that’s why I am pleased we could win. Our service, blocking and defence were all good today, so we were able to contain Iran’s speedy attacks.
Iran coach Igor Kolakovic: Congratulations to Brazil for a great game. Today, I think we lost energy from the middle of the second and third sets. Each game was interesting but I think at those moments in the second and third sets Brazil started to play unbelievable defence and great counter-attack. We just didn’t have the energy we had against USA. Maybe we lost a lot of energy in our first two games, but I think Brazil put us under pressure with their high quality.
Iran captain Mir Saeid Marouflakrani: Congratulations to Brazil. Today was not our day. If you can’t get a side-out, it’s not possible to play Brazil. They were so strong. In such a situation, it’s hard to play them. Now, we must forget this and focus on tomorrow. We always have tough games against Japan. They play very good volleyball, so we must stay focused for the whole game.
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