Montreux, Switzerland, 07. September 2018- There was no giant killing to be had in the final match of the 2018 Montreux Masters Group Phase, as defending champions and FIVB World Number Four seed Brazil outclassed Cameroon in straight sets (25-11, 25-15, 25-13) to tpp Pool B and cruise into the semi-finals, with Russia progressing alongside as runners-up and Poland eliminated.
The final encounter in Pool B saw the South American volleyball powerhouse against aspiring African champions Cameroon. In the battle between passion and power the latter prevailed and Brazil deservedly secured their place in the Montreux Volley Masters semi-finals, with seven points from three games to go through as group winners, a showdown with Pool A runners-up Italy awaiting them in the last four.
Coach José Roberto Guimaraes had no intention of underestimating the alleged outsiders of the tournament, and his tremendous respect for the opposition was clear a heincluded the celebrated Brazilian players Thaisa Menezes Fe Garay, Rosamaria Montibeller and Gabi Guimaraes in his starting six. Cameroon got off to a good start opening the scoring, but Brazil picked the tempo up quickly to advance into a 10-3 lead. A mega-rally that followed was eventually won by Cameroon, which sent the partisan Montreux crowd into raptures. With that episode being the highlight of the opening set, the Cameroonian squad couldn’t resist the pace, power and pressure of the South Americans, as Brazil eased to a 25-11 opening set win.
Cameroon’s passionate approach and dedication paid off at the beginning of the second set as they edged ahead of Brazil at 3-4. A brace of power attacks by Gabi and Fe Garay put the South American team back in the lead, before Cameroon responded with a handful of more aggressive attacks. These ambitious attempts, however, were quickly shut down by Thaisa, who relentlessly patrolled the net in the Brazilian block. With energetic determination on both sides, the audience were treated to some interesting rallies, with Brazil having the decisive edge and coasting to another set victory, 25-15 in the second.
A 2-0 deficit could dampen the spirits of any team, but it didn’t seem to dissuade Cameroon whose efforts drew the majority of approval from a lively crowd. Captain Christelle Tchoudjang Nana crafted a way past the Brazilian block to put up a fight early in the third set, but once the Brazilians got back to winning ways the set continued in the same key as before, with Brazil putting on pressure and Cameroon struggling to find an answer. Two ace serves by Roberta Ratzke at 17-8 confirmed that the set and the match belonged to the South Americans, and after that the action was over quickly, the heavy favourites in this tie marching on to a 25-13 third set win and a 3:0 triumph.
Cameroon can look forward to a classification showdown with hosts Switzerland on Saturday (08.09.18. 15:30 CET), as they still look to earn their first win, and first set, at this year’s Montreux Masters, whilst Brazil gear up for a semi-final showdown at 18:30 CET on the same day with the Azzurrine; a place in the coveted Gold Medal final the prize for the winner.