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Volleywood’s special coverage of the world’s most prestigious volleyball tournaments like the World League, Grand Prix & FIVB tourneys! In case you didn’t know, Brazil struggled throughout the preliminary round against USA (1-3), Korea (0-3), Turkey (3-2), China (3-2) and Serbia (3-0).
Through the fire and through the storm, Sheilla, Jaqueline, Thaisa, Fabi, Fe Garay, Fabiana, Dani Lins and the Brazilians prevailed against Russia in the Quarterfinal match (3-2), defeated Japan (3-0) in the Semifinals and then triumphed against the top favorite USA in the Gold Medal Match. I can only imagine how wonderful it must have been to watch such an incredible and unforgetable match.
Destinee Hooker had 23 points and Jordan Larson added 18 for the top-ranked Americans, who won 25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21 to improve to 2-0 in pool play at Earls Court. Larson, a wing spiker making her Olympic debut, hit a floater to put the Americans up 23-17 in the first set.
Brazil rebounded by going up 8-3 early in the third, but the Americans rallied for a 16-15 lead on Christa Harmotto's block. The Americans took the top spot in the world rankings at the end of 2011, ending Brazil's four-year run at No. In earlier matches, China moved to 2-0 in its group after defeating Turkey, 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 29-31, 25-22). High-flying USA, here beating Japan in the Preliminary Round, are bidding for a fourth straight title.
August 27, 2013: For the last three years, the FIVB World Grand Prix has been a two-horse race. With the Finals of the 21st edition of the premier annual women’s volleyball tournament starting in Sapporo on Wednesday, there are a lot of signs that one or two of the other teams are also in with a chance of winning. However, a look back through the history of the competition reveals only one hot favourite: 2012 Olympic champions Brazil.
The crucial clash between the two teams on Wednesday (15:30 local time) will take centre stage on the opening day of the Finals. Libero Fabi was also impressed with the preparations: “We had to play with a high tempo against the men.

The Americans will also come up against an old acquaintance, Jenny Lang Ping, who led the US team to silver in her home city of Beijing at the 2008 Olympics and took over as coach of the Chinese team this season. China coach Jenny Lang Ping and captain Hui Ruoqi, one of the current team’s 2012 Olympians.
Both teams have met once in the last week of the Preliminary Round, when China managed to beat World No. One thing is certain: The round-robin format will provide 15 exciting matches in the Finals.
Cynthia Barboza #8 of the USA spikes the ball on Paula Pequeno #4 and Fabiana Claudino #9 of Brazil during the volleyball game between the USA Women's National Volleyball team and Brazil at Clune Arena at the U.S. World-class cities have world-class volleyball fans and we want to introduce you to the cities and regions that help make volleyball stars shine.
If USA gave the match away to Turkey, then Brazil would’ve missed the Quarterfinal Round.
2 Brazil, which was energized after a third-set victory but lost on Logan Tom's floater in the fourth set. Kim Yeon-Koung had a staggering 34 points to lead South Korea to a 3-1 victory over Serbia. USA and Brazil have been embroiled in a head-to-head duel for the title – and the Americans have always come out on top in the end. China were the only team to remain unbeaten in the Preliminary Round, while Finals hosts Japan also made a strong impression. Japan have hosted the World Grand Prix Finals four times in the past, with Sapporo being a fifth host city after Tokyo in 2009, Yokohama in 2008, Sendai in 2005 and Kobe in 1997. Brazil have won the last two matches 3-1 – the 2012 Olympic final in London and on home soil in the Preliminary Round. The players had to think differently, and that was a valuable lesson,” said the legendary coach who has been in charge since 2003.
However, their last trip to the top step of the podium came back in 2009, and they have been waiting for their ninth title since.
However, we are expecting five matches against the best teams in the world – so you have to perform to your very best in every game,” Kiraly said.

9 Serbia for the first time in the World Grand Prix with a 3-2 win after two previous defeats.
All six teams will play each other once in pool play over five days before the table leaders will be crowned 2013 World Grand Prix champions on Sunday. The last three times the World Grand Prix Finals have been held in the Land of the Rising Sun, the Olympic champions have emerged triumphant.
And the record World Grand Prix winners have once again warmed up for the all-important duel in their own unique way.
New coach Karch Kiraly – himself a triple Olympic gold medallist in the hall and on the beach – has prepared his girls for the big match by running joint practices with hosts Japan in Sendai. The Chinese remained undefeated through nine preliminary matches, raising hopes of a second World Grand Prix victory, 10 years after the first. Wednesday’s opening match is a repeat of the 2011 World Grand Prix Finals pool encounter, which Serbia won 3-2 on their way to an impressive third-place finish in their debut appearance in the competition.
Italy have two silver and four bronze World Grand Prix medals to their name since 2004 while Japan, ranked third in the world, have never medalled at the World Grand Prix.
1 Brazil to earn a spot in Sunday's final of the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships Italy 2014. Russia went up 2-0 in pool play after downing the Dominican Republic 3-1 (25-23, 25-15, 24-26, 25-22). The fact that no team have ever won the World Grand Prix four times in a row speaks against a victory for USA. However, the reigning Olympic champions contributed to the final score with as many as 19 unforced errors (to USA's 12).

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