WALLACE SUPERIOR IN BATTLE OF THE OPPOSITES AS BRAZIL WIN AGAIN
Ufa, Russia, June 10, 2018 – It was Brazil vs. China, but from the off it was apparent that it was also Wallace De Souza vs. Chuan Jiang. Two of the competitions top scorers dominated throughout often being their teams go-to guys. In a demonstration of power, composure and guile it was Brazil that came through to increase their winning streak to seven consecutive matches with this straight sets win 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 27-25).
Brazil prevailed in five sets against Iran on Saturday, partly due to not being on their game from start to finish, but Renan Dal Zotto’s team were not to make the same mistake again. Wallace recorded 9 attacks in the first set, 7 in the second (including 3 aces), proving to be the dominant force.
Reigning Olympic champions Brazil are continually showing that they have an all round game, as beyond their star man there were positive performances by Douglas Souza (eight points) and libero Thales Hoss. A special mention also goes to Alan Souza who scored seven points despite only starting 1 set. Captain Bruno Mossa Rezende also came on and made a telling contribution, as he did yesterday against Iran to see his side home.
Chinese coach Raul Lozano will be learning from each match, but the results show that his team have not won a set in Ufa. Chuan Jiang was their shining light as usual, lifting his total tally to 172, while 18 year old Jingyin Zhang continues to make a name for himself through position 4 scoring 8 points.
This match is the 17th time these two teams have met at this level, with Brazil now leading the series 12-5. China actually won the first five encounters between 1956 and 1978 but seven of the more recent 12 wins for Brazil have now been done in straight sets.
Brazil started in second (W7-L1), three points off table toppers Poland following their 3-1 win against Bulgaria earlier today, and knew they needed a straight sets or 3-1 win to draw back level with them on points. China were in thirteen (W2-L6) and stay in the same position following this loss. In week four, Brazil will head West across Europe to Varna (Bulgaria) while China head off to Seoul (Korea).
China were unchanged after pushing Russia so close in the third set yesterday (losing 29-31), while Brazil brought Isac Santos in for Lucas Saatkamp through the middle. But it was through position 2 that Brazil has been most impressive with Wallace De Souza (currently 5th in the competitions top scorer charts) taking 5 of his teams opening 8 points. The same feat was achieved by Chinese Opposite Chuan Jiang, showing why he sits on top that that individual list.
Brazils lead slowly grew (16-12, 20-15), and in a set dominated by the attack (only a few blocks were registered and zero aces served), it ended with Brazil taking it 25-20 – and with that, Brazil continue their incredible record of claiming a least one set in all of their last 34 world level major competition matches.
It was not to be for China in the 2nd set either, with Brazil racing to a 6-2 lead with their 208 cm tall middle blocker Isac Santos getting in on the act with a couple of big attacks. China did come back into it with some excellent setting by Tianyi Mao spreading the ball around using the full length of the net and his team finding some success with the block.
By the time the score reached 13-12 Brazil had scored a whole set worth of points through attacks alone and were seemingly in control – Wallace with more than half of them!
It would have been no surprise that it was the very same Wallace De Souza who registered the first ace of the match to tie the score at 15-15 and he then followed it up with two more to complete his hat trick. From here it was advantage Brazil as his team went on to take a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Into the third set and it was now or never for China. With fresh intent they dominated for large spells, Libin Liu being particularly effective. With a lead as they approached the twenties it was a question of how Brazil would respond, and they did with purpose coming back to take the set 27-25.
In terms of the battle of the opposites, after this performance Wallace moved up to second on 141 points and will have Chuan Jiang in his sights as the competition continues.
Brazil coach Renan Dal Zotto: “There is no secret to winning. Every game is equally important for us and we every match like a final. We have important matches coming against teams of France, Canada and Bulgaria. Were going to give it our all. I would like to say that all teams playing in the Volleyball Nations League are very strong and we’re expecting only positive results.”
Brazil captain Bruno Rezende: “Today’s game was spectacular. In the third set we started to have issues because China stepped up on their defensive game, but despite their big lead we were still able to regroup and win. I have to admit that against such teams as Russia or USA, we have to play in a more coordinated way and be more focused, which is mentally straining. But that’s normal, that’s what the game requires from us. China are a strong team and we put our best effort against them.”
China coach Raul Lozano: “The organisation of the stadium, the court and our stay in general is flawless. We spent a lot of time waiting before going into the court, which doesn’t allow the players to warm up. This makes the players commit mistakes in the opening set.”
China captain Ji Daoshuai: “We didn’t give up all the way until the very end and played full force. We have improved and advanced further in our game. Of course, the result wasn’t very good, but we gave it our all and we’re going to continue going forward.”