After a tough first week which saw it get wins against Serbia and Germany but lose to Italy, Brazil’s VNL Week 2 has been a breeze so far, with quick 3-0 wins against Japan and Korea. However, the hardest game of its pool was saved for last, as the team will now go against unbeaten rivals Team USA.
Despite having beaten the Americans in five of their last six encounters in major competitions, Brazil’s Captain Bruninho knows that this will be his team’s hardest game of the competition so far (Globo.com):
“Team USA has a whole different game than the Asian volleyball schools. It is much more aggressive, and serves the ball much harder. The team also blocks very effectively as well. We’ll have to work extra hard in our reception and adapt to the team’s blocking, which is much heavier than that of the Asian teams.”
In addition, Brazil’s coach Renan Dal Zotto also chimed in ahead of the derby:
“I am satisfied with my players’ individual efforts, but as a team we need to improve, specially on blocking, defense, and break points. Our performance in those areas of the game are still sub-par. If we are to beat Team USA, we’ll need all of our fundamentals to be perfect.”
The game promises to deliver, as both teams are in top shape. While Team USA is one of two teams still unbeaten in the tournament, alongside Poland, Brazil clearly has USA’s number in their last encounters (5-1 record). Also, to put Brazil’s recent play into perspective, the team has won the first set in each of their last 17 matches, and won at least two sets in each of their last 15 matches.
Here is a video of the teams’ last encounter: