Wallace and Douglas lead Brazil as teams play friendlies ahead of VNL
Wallace spikes in international friendly against Canada on Friday
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 25, 2019 – Wallace De Souza and Douglas Souza led Brazil to a dramatic five-set victory in their season opener against Canada, one of many international friendlies the various participating teams are engaged in ahead of the second edition of the men’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
With 16 points apiece, Wallace and Douglas were Brazil’s best scorers in their 3-2 (22-25, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20, 15-10) win over Canada on Wednesday in the first of two test matches between the two teams in Campinas. On Friday, the home side were more emphatic to claim a 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-19) victory.
"It was a good test for our team and now we need to have a little patience. We are still making adjustments and we will be able to do what is necessary before our first VNL game," said Douglas.
"Our team has been getting better every day. We still have things to improve, but we have one more week to prepare before we give our best in the Volleyball Nations League," setter Fernando Kreling (Cachopa) added.
Italy and Japan met for a couple of friendlies in Cagliari on Thursday and Friday, claiming one victory each. The home team won the first game 3-1 (25-20, 18-25, 25-16, 25-21) with Gabriele Nelli contributing 18 points. Japan’s Yuki Ishikawa hammered out 24 points to become the best scorer of the match. The same two athletes were their squads’ most prolific players in the second encounter, which Japan won 3-2 (25-17, 24-26, 25-20, 22-25, 15-11). Ishikawa piled up 25 points, while Nelli finished with 11.
"I'm happy with my performance even though I can give more,” Gabriele Nelli commented. “I am very confident about this team. We can grow and do very well.”
“We are working hard to create an identity. Even though we lost this evening we must learn from every game,” Italy’s Simone Anzani added. “Positive signals arrived from both friendlies. We will continue our path of growth into the VNL next week. We are certainly not starting with the spirit of losers as some have already predicted.”
Also on Friday night, Bulgaria managed a 4-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-16, 25-19, 25-23) victory in the first of two behind-closed-doors friendly games with Serbia in Belgrade. Opposite Nikolay Uchikov scored 24 times towards the win, including four times directly from the serving line. His Serbian counterpart Bozidar Vucicevic responded with 20 points. The second test at the Impuls hall will take place on Saturday at 18:00 local time.
“The Bulgarians have a good team and their serving and reception made the difference. This is something we have to continue working on and improve ahead of the start of the VNL,” analyzed Serbia’s head coach Nikola Grbic.
Bulgarian setter Georgi Seganov in action against Serbia
VNL newcomers Portugal, who will start their rookie campaign in Mendoza, are already acclimatizing in South America. They defeated their hosts Chile in three friendly matches - 3-1 (25-22, 25-19, 19-25, 26-24) in Puente Alto on Tuesday, 3-2 (25-19, 21-25, 25-22, 26-28, 17-15) in Rancagua on Wednesday, with six aces towards a 20-point total from captain Alexandre Ferreira, and 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-20) in Temuco on Thursday.
The Portuguese are already in neighbouring Argentina where they will play two pre-season games with their hosts – on Sunday and Monday at the Aldo Cantoni hall in San Juan, before meeting again for their official VNL opening game on May 31 in Mendoza.
Before entertaining Portugal, however, Argentina will also play a friendly with Chile in San Juan on Saturday at 20:00 local time.
Australia were the first VNL team to get started with the test matches. The Volleyroos travelled to Brno last week, where they beat hosts Czechia 3-1 (17-25, 27-25, 25-22, 25-19) on May 15 and 3-1 (25-27, 25-19, 25-19, 25-22) on May 16, before losing the third one 3-1 (27-25, 25-18, 30-28, 20-25) on May 17. The Australians have been on a training camp in neighbouring Poland, near Katowice, where their VNL campaign will get underway next Friday.
Head coach Mark Lebedew said his side will be under pressure from the start of the VNL, referring to the squad having to play the three teams that medalled at the last World Championship – Poland, Brazil and USA – on the opening weekend. ”The load is very high, and we do not have a huge squad. How we stagger the workloads in training and during the respective weekends will be important,” Lebedew pointed out.
A couple of friendly games between VNL teams are coming up this weekend in Gliwice, where hosts Poland will entertain Germany on May 25 and 26 at Arena Gliwice.