2017 Review: Record 12th World Grand Prix title for Brazil
Brazil celebrate victory against Italy and a twelfth FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix title.
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Brazil triumphed at the grand finale of the FIVB World Grand Prix to claim a fourth title in five years. In doing so, the South American country made amends for their frustrating quarterfinal defeat to China at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Brazil did lose 3-0 to their Chinese hosts in the Final Round. However, when it really mattered, the record World Grand Prix winners were firing on all cylinders. They defeated Serbia 3-1 in the semifinals, before securing a 3-2 victory over surprise package Italy in the final (26-24, 17-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-8).
“I am very proud of my team, this title was very satisfying for the players and the whole team. We showed great passion throughout the tournament and especially in the third set of the final, when Italy had a 20-15 lead. That was the turning point of the match,” said Brazil coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes.
In the end, the deciding factor was not necessarily the brilliant play that has made the Brazilian women the most successful team in recent decades. Fighting spirit and strength in depth were also instrumental in their triumph. This was summed up nicely by a comment from Brazilian captain Natalia Pereira, who contributed 22 points in the final and was named MVP for a second consecutive tournament.
“I could not win this MVP award without my teammates. I dedicate this to all the team members. I also want to thank my coach for this great victory.”
Title number twelve was arguably one of the hardest to win. The twelve teams in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix had probably never been so evenly matched. Only Belgium left without a victory.
Behind Preliminary Round winners Serbia (seven wins, two defeats), five teams had six wins and three defeats to their name after three Preliminary Round weekends. Brazil were also in danger of exiting the competition early, until three wins on home turf secured their path into the Final Six. Six-time winners USA did not make it through to the semifinals.
Serbia, who included the Preliminary Round’s top scorer in Brankica Mihajlovic (153 points), defeated the disappointed hosts, China, 3-1 to win the bronze medals. Tijana Boskovic scored 31 points in the third-place playoff. “I am proud of my team for the bronze medal win in the World Grand Prix, although we would have preferred to have won gold. However, Brazil is Brazil,” she said. And Brazil are the team who will forever remain the most successful team in the history of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix.
World Grand Prix Group 1 Dream Team
MVP: Natalia Pereira (Brazil)
Best Outside Hitters: Zhu Ting (China) & Natalia Pereira (Brazil)
Best Middle Blockers: Ana Beatriz Correa (Brazil) & Milena Rasic (Serbia)
Best Libero: Monica De Gennaro (Italy)
Best Setter: Ding Xia (China)
Best Opposite: Tijana Boskovic (Serbia)
Results - World Grand Prix Group 1
Best Players - World Grand Prix Group 1
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