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Volleyball: Brazil down hosts Japan to cement lead at Grand Champions Cup 

Mauricio Borges Almeida registered 10 points for Brazil as the triple world champions routed Japan in straight sets on Friday evening at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. Photo: FIVB.

Mauricio Borges Almeida registered 10 points for Brazil as the triple world champions routed hosts Japan in straight sets on Friday evening at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium to maintain their lead in the Grand Champions Cup. Photo: FIVB.

November 22, 2013: Brazil’s bid for a third consecutive FIVB World Grand Champions Cup title remained on course as they beat hosts Japan 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, and 25-18) on Friday evening for their third straight victory as the competition resumed in Tokyo after a day’s break.


The world’s top-ranked team have a maximum nine points after three rounds, following wins in Kyoto on Tuesday and Wednesday, and could emulate Brazil’s five wins in the women’s tournament two weeks ago, also in Japan.


Luis Felipe Marques Fonteles spearheaded Brazil’s attack with 12 points at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, while Wallace De Souza contributed 11. Yu Koshikawa led Japan with 13 points and Yusuke Ishijima added 10.


Brazil coach Benardo Rezende said: “It was a good match. We started strong and played tactically well, although they played better in the second set and put pressure on us. I like the intensity we’re playing with. We may not have as much talent as in the past, but the intensity is good. We’re playing the Brazilian way. Tomorrow will be a great test for us against Russia.”


Japan coach Gary Sato agreed his team raised their game in the second set. “Things clicked for us in the second set,” he said. “We usually don’t face this kind of speed in this region, so we have to adjust to that. We executed some things well and the players are feeling more comfortable. This is a good tournament for us as we have to play against the best to improve.”


Russia edged Iran in three tight sets (25-23, 25-23, and 25-19) to move to second place in the six-team competition with six points. The reigning Olympic and European champions lost their opening match to Italy on Tuesday, but have improved their win-loss record to 2-1.


Maxim Mikhaylov sparked the Russian attack with 19 points and Dmitriy Muserskiy had 12, while Mojtaba Mirzajanpour led Iran with 13 points and opposite Shahram Mahmoudi added 11.


Iran coach Julio Velasco said: “We played to win against one of the best teams in the world. We did well in the first two sets, but we don’t yet have the mental endurance to play against a team like this. We learned a lot from this match. Russian players are not only strong but they have good technique as well.”


USA are third after battling back from 2-1 down to eventually defeat Italy in a tiebreak (25-21, 20-25, 22-25, 28-26, 15-13). Italy dropped to fourth with five points, as many as USA, but sit behind the NORCECA champions on points ratio.


Brazil could secure the trophy if they defeat Russia in Saturday’s most high-profile contest. Iran face USA in the day’s first match, while bottom-placed Japan take on Italy in the evening as the hosts bid for their first win in the tournament.

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