Both Russia and Brazil looked in good form ahead of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix
Montreux, Switzerland, May 29, 2014 – World champions Russia won a duel with Olympic champions Brazil 3-2 (35-33, 25-20, 26-28, 20-25, 15-11) at the Montreux Volley Masters on Thursday.
Russia’s Natalia Malykh scored 25 points, while Brazil’s Gabi accounted for 24 points.
The sports hall on the shore of Lake Geneva was full and the spectators enjoyed a feast of fine volleyball.
The teams started out at full power, as both wanted to make a quick impression on each other. The Russians handled things better than the South Americans early on, but the first set was very tight. The Russians had the first chance to win the set at 24-23, but the Brazilians turned the game around. However, the Olympic gold medallists couldn’t take advantage of seven set points and the Russians finally took the breath-taking opener 35-33.
The Brazilians started to pick things up in the second set and went ahead 8-4. Just as it seemed the Brazilians would start to take the upper hand against the young Russians, the world champions fought their way back thanks to some unforced errors by the Brazilians. Brazil coach Zé Roberto demanded a better performance from his players, but it wasn’t to be and they fell 2-0 behind.
Despite some reception problems at the start of the third set, the Brazilians stuck to their task and took the set 28-26.
The Brazilians’ fire had suddenly reappeared. Zé Roberto’s players were stronger in attack now and shot the Russian defenders down. The South Americans took the lead, but suffered a setback when Tandara was injured near the net and had to be substituted. The Brazilians, however, kept up their rhythm and sent the match into a tiebreaker.
The final set remained tight until the side change after which the Russians scored five points in a row. The Brazilians fought hard, but couldn’t narrow the deficit and, as a consequence, lost the set and the match.