Brazil beat France to win hold a 12-1 record at the 2019 VNL
Lausanne, Switzerland, June 29, 2019 – Brazil had to survive a fierce challenge by France on Friday to win their match in four sets and stay on top of the rankings, while Canada bolted with their fourth straight win in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
Yoandy Leal Hidalgo had a match-high 15 points to lead Brazil to a 3-0 (23-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-23) win over France in Pool 18.
Brazil launched a fightback in the second set after dropping the opening set, but were constantly pursued by their European rivals in the succeeding sets. Brazil managed to keep their composure in front of their home fans at Brasilia and gained the two-point edge on the last two sets to capture the victory.
Brazil coach Renan Dal Zotto tactically fielded in a different combination in each set, retaining only four players as his starters. The move worked well as the four starters were productive that night, plus Douglas Souza and Flavio Gualberto, who came off the bench, delivered some prized contributions for the team.
Brazil now have a 12-1 record and have secured a spot in the Final Six, while France are tied with Poland with a nine wins and four losses.
“We were seeking this spot on the Final Six, but besides that, we were always focused on improvement of the team as a whole,” Dal Zotto said. “We are evolving and we are happy with that. Tomorrow will be another challenge.”
“It was an important win,” Brazil captain Bruno Rezende added. “We played with one of the big teams. We demonstrated a great defensive system and we were able to show all our improvement as a team and how we have evolved throughout this competition. We want to keep going on this direction, of course with the support of the fans that are passionate about us and volleyball.”
“Brazil are a hard team to beat and when you commit so much errors, it is impossible to defeat them. They made two substitutions that worked out well.” France captain Benjamin Toniutti said.
In the opening encounter in Brasilia, Canada toppled Italy 3-1 (15-21, 25-20, 25-22, 25-18) to continue their winning run. After sweeping week 4, the Canadians showed renewed strength and determination to overcome their opponents.
“The key to our victory was passing,” Canada captain Nicholas Hoag said. “Italy are a good blocking team and once we got our passing stabilised, we were able to run the offence and be very efficient with our hitting.”
“We missed some crucial opportunities and committed some errors and because of that we fell behind,” Italy captain Oleg Antonov said. “We played better on the fourth set but that was not enough to change the results on the scoreboard.”
Brazil and Canada will go head-to-head on Saturday at 20:00 local time. Both squads are on a winning run – Brazil with six wins in a row and Canada with four.
With two matches left to play in the preliminary round, Brazil and Canada are looking to complete back-to-back weekend sweeps.
Meanwhile, Amir Ghafour continues to impress with a 25-point performance to lead Iran against Serbia in their four-set win. Ghafour’s consistency in scoring put him on top of the scoring table and made him the first player to reach the 200-point mark. The Iranian opposite is the current best spiker and now has a total of 207 points – 28 points ahead of the second best scorer Yuji Nishida of Japan who has a total of 179.
His teammate Seyed Mohammad Mousavi also climbed on top of the blocking charts with an average of 0.55 per set, while Saeid Marouf remains to be the setting leader with an average of 8.85 per set.
Their team will be facing hosts Bulgaria at 20:40 local time, after the clash of the United States and Serbia at 17:40 in Plovdiv.
In Brisbane, Russia are determined to defend their title by keeping a strong pace in the competition, as they won in straight sets against hosts Australia.
The spectacle of seeing high-flying Victor Poletaev going up against the tournament’s best defender and Argentina libero Santiago Danani will raise the pulse when Russia play Argentina at 16:00 local time, followed by the matchup of the home team and China at 19:00.
In Leipzig, Poland are hoping to keep their momentum to claim the Final Six berth, following their victory over Japan. The reigning world champions will play hosts Germany in the first match at 17:30 local time, then Portugal meet with Japan at 20:30.
All VNL matches will be available live and on-demand on Volleyball TV
June 29 – full schedule: