2019 VNL gets underway - Brazil vs China to highlight first day
Brazil vs China in one of their three 2018 VNL encounters
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 21, 2019 – The clash between Brazil and China looks set to highlight the first competition day of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. The remake of last year’s bronze medal match between the two super powers, set to start at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brazilia at 20:00 local time, is the last of eight VNL games on Tuesday’s schedule.
This will be the 66th encounter between Brazil and China in major world-level competitions. The head-to-head record stands at 39-26 in favour of the South American powerhouse. However, the reigning Olympic champions emerged with a 3-0 victory from the latest encounter – the 2018 VNL third place match on July 1 in Nanjing. Brazil had won the previous two VNL games against China – 3-2 in the preliminary round and 3-0 in the pool stage of the final round.
“We are aware about our strengths, but we are ready for anything,” said China’s captain Chunlei Zeng on the eve of the competition. “This is my first time in Brazil, but I’ve heard that people are kind and the fans love volleyball, so I expect a great start in the VNL.”
“I’ve played in Brasilia and I love the atmosphere. The fans here are very excited at every match. We expect difficult games, but I am confident that with the support from the stands we will prevail,” commented Brazil’s Macris Carneiro.
Pool 3 action in the Brazilian capital will start three hours earlier with the encounter between the Dominican Republic and Russia.
Belgium and defending title-holders USA will get it all started at the Monbat Arena in Ruse at 17:00 local time. In the other Pool 2 game, hosts Bulgaria will face Japan at 20:30.
In neighbouring Serbia, Korea will challenge last year’s VNL finalists Turkey in a Pool 4 fixture at 17:00 local time, three hours before world champs Serbia meet the Netherlands in front of the home fans at the Aleksandar Nikolic hall in Belgrade.
At 17:30 local time, Thailand and Germany will open the tournament at the Stegu Arena in Opole. Hosts Poland will try to build upon their success at the Montreux Volley Masters last week taking on World Championship silver medallists Italy at 20:30.
“We expect difficult matches, especially against Poland,” Italy’s captain Ofelia Malinov pointed out. “They play at home with big support from their fans, so we have to play even better and with more attention. We have to show our best!”
All VNL matches will be available live and on-demand on Volleyball TV.