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Brazil rallies back for Olympic men's volleybal gold
21:14, August 06, 2008

After missing their first major global tournament championship in eight years at the recent World League, the Brazil men's volleyball team, the defending Olympic champion, appeared with great confidence at the training court of Beijing on Wednesday.

"Along the eight years, Brazil won everything, every championships. Losing the one at the World League this year is one small mistake one time in eight years. It's normal. We are still very confident with ourselves," said the team's star player Godoy Filho Gilberto, or better-known Giba.

The World's No. 1 attacker also intends to repeat his experience in Athens -- the arrival of his son accompanied by a gold medal, as his wife, the former Romanian player Cristina Pirv, is pregnant again.

Four years ago, Giba's daughter Nicoll was born during the Games and the father was moved into tears when saw his daughter for the first time through Internet.

"I don't know whether Patrick, my son, will be born during the Games this time. Doctors has said he would be born before September 10, but I really hope he can wait for a little longer because I don't want to miss the chance to become the first one to kiss him after he is born," said Giba.

The man has been prepared for the same gift for Patrick as his elder sister's, an Olympic gold medal. "I don't want jealousies in my family," he said.

However, head coach Rezende Bernardo played down the team's expectation at the Games by saying just "want a medal", though most of his rivals still regard Brazil as the favorite of gold.

"I and my team have a lot of pressure now, more than that in the last seven years," said the coach."We have a lot of unforced errors and we made more mistakes than ever when facing a good team like the United States. That's the main reason we lost at the World League."

"We have been working hard to improving our setting and reception, so our attack can flow better. We know we can play better at the Games to beat the strong teams," he said,

Bernardo named Serbia, Russia and Poland in Pool A and the U. S., Bulgaria and Italy in another group are the major rivals of Brazil.

"China's men's team is growing and they will be a good surprise at the Games, but I think the first three places will be among our seven teams," he said.

Brazil arrived in Beijing on Tuesday and showed up at the Capital Indoor Stadium on Wednesday afternoon for their first training session, when their women counterparts were supposed to appear at the site. As the coach said, during the 90-minute training, the team spent most time on practising reception.

Twelve men's teams are divided into two groups to compete in the Preliminary Round of the Olympic tournaments in Beijing that run through August 10-18. The knockout stages run from Aug. 20 to 24. Brazil will play against its first opponent Egypt on Aug. 10.

Source: Xinhua

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