2017 FIVB WORLD LEAGUE
In a repeat of last year’s World League finals, reigning World League champions Serbia will take on reigning Olympic champions Brazil in week three. The Serbian crew ranks second in the standings with Brazil sitting just behind Serbia in third. Serbia carries a 5-1 record and 15 points thus far in the competition, while Brazil has dropped two matches for a 4-2 record with 13 points.
Brazil has an automatic bid to the World League finals, as they are playing host, with France already qualifying after posting an undefeated record in the first two weeks of play.
Last year, the Serbian men took the Brazil in straight sets, 3-0, (25-22, 25-22, 25-21) for the title in Krakow, Poland. The Brazilian side was riddled with errors in the finals match that led to their defeat.
Brazil‘s head coach Renan Dal Zotto will call upon the team’s experienced players such as Wallace de Souza, Raphael Vieira and Luiz Felipe Marques Fonteles. De Souza led last year’s World League match with 18 points. Dal Zotto has not used de Souza yet in a World League match this season giving other players the opportunity to show their potential.
“We gave these talented players a chance to show their potential. Now, in the final stretch, we will be with the full group in Argentina and then for the finals at home,” said Dal Zotto.
Leading the Brazilians through two weeks of tough World League play has been Ricardo Lucarelli Souza, who has contributed 87 points, with 72 kills, two blocks and a Group 1 best of 13 aces. The team heavily relied on Evandro Guerra in the first week of play, as he emerged as the best scorer across all three groups, but did not see any action in week two.
Serbia will, however, be ready for the Brazilian team in their Argentina match according to their captain Marko Podrascanin, “We are improving game by game and day by day. And we are going to Argentina to try to win all our games because we are a good, young team.”
The Serbian team has been led by Marko Ivovic who has produced 69 points, with teammate Srecko Lisinac adding another 62 in addition to 14 blocks.
Serbia is on the cusp of securing a ticket to the Group 1 finals in Brazil. In addition to their match against each other, Serbia and Brazil will take on Argentina and Bulgaria.