WhatsApp Image 2024-05-23 at 9.38.58 PM

Cachopa replaced captain Bruno Rezende and helped Brazil complete their comeback

There was no shortage of drama, but Brazil secured their first victory in the Volleyball Nations League 2024 on Thursday as they came from behind to beat South American rivals Argentina in the tie-breaker in front of their home fans in Rio de Janeiro.

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After a strong performance in the first set, the Brazilians saw their opponents take control of the match, but recovered on time to produce a 3-2 (25-13, 20-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-11) victory at the Maracanãzinho stadium and rebound from an opening-match setback against Cuba on Tuesday.

Setter Fernando ‘Cachopa’ Kreling played a major role in the Brazilian comeback, coming off the bench when his team was trailing and making their offense work more efficiently.

Because of his distribution, each of the team’s five starting hitters got to double digits in scoring, with opposite Darlan Souza leading the way with 20 points (18 kills, two blocks), followed by outside hitters Ricardo Lucarelli (17) and Adriano Xavier (15) and middle blockers Isac Santos (11) and Flavio Gualberto (ten).

“We love winning against Argentina,” Cachopa reflected. “It’s the kind of match we love to play and at this stage, it’s really important that we face rivals of this caliber to be tested. This is how we grow. Of course, we want to be at the VNL Finals and win the title, but right now, the most important thing is that we improve as a team.”

The tight victory earned Brazil 4.04 FIVB World Ranking points, keeping them in fifth place. Argentina, who lost their opening match to Japan on Tuesday, dropped the same amount and ended the day in seventh place, still among the four best national teams not yet qualified for the Paris Games, but now in third place in the race for the Olympic berths.

The Tokyo Olympic bronze medalists had the match’s top scorer in opposite Bruno Lima, who tallied 21 points (20 kills, one block), and also got great production from outside hitters Luciano Vicentin (19) and Luciano Palonsky (18).

“Despite the tough loss, we feel great,” Argentinean captain Luciano De Cecco revealed. “We played better than against Japan, our serving and our confidence were much better today. We fought, but Brazil played better and had great support from their fans. We made some mistakes in key moments, but we take this match as a step in the right direction in the process.”

Three matches on Friday

Brazil will be back on the court on Friday, at 21:00 local time (00:00 GMT, Saturday), for their third match in the VNL 2024, against Serbia. Argentina will have the day off and will get back in action on Saturday, at 17:30 local time (20:30 GMT), against Germany.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

Friday’s match schedule will have two more matches, with Japan facing Cuba at 14:00 local time (17:00 GMT) and Italy meeting Iran at 17:30 local time (20:30 GMT).

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