FIVB VNL 2019 preview – can Brazil overcome player losses?

Brazil women’s national team has long been a force to be reckoned with on the global volleyball stage. The team wound up fourth at last year’s FIVB VNL. However, the Brazilians have largely underperformed since the 2016 Rio Olympics through to the World Championship in 2018.

They seem to be going through a period of transition as their veterans hand over the torch to the younger stars. This is a fresh year for them heading into FIVB VNL 2019, a chance to build on team chemistry and individual confidence. Will they rise to the top again?

FIVB VNL 2018 record & stats

Win/loss: 12 / 3
Points: 35
Sets win/loss/ratio: 40 / 20 / 2.000
Points win/loss/ratio: 1376 / 1229 / 1.120
Final position: 4th

What’s new for Brazil in FIVB VNL 2019?

Significant changes within Brazil’s team occurred mostly in 2016, in the wake of a disappointing fifth-place finish at the Olympics on home soil. The team was swiftly thrust into a rebuilding process as its star players including Sheilla retired. And now it seems a new wave of changes are under way with star middle blocker Thaísa recently confirming she would be retiring from national duty with immediate effect and another experienced campaigner Adenizia suggesting she would be unlikely to play this year as she rests and focuses on her upcoming wedding.

Head coach José Roberto Guimarães continues to work on this new era of Brazilian women’s volleyball and it will be fascinating to watch the squad take shape for the upcoming FIVB VNL.

Brazil world ranking: 4 (October 2018)

Brazil provisional FIVB VNL 2019 roster

Head coach: José Roberto Guimarães

Setters: Roberta Ratzka, Juma Silva, Macris Carneiro, Josefa Fabiola Almeida De Sousa Alves, Lyara Medeiros

Liberos: Natália Pereira, Tássia Silva, Suelen Pinto, Leia Henrique Da Silva, Lais Vasques

Middle Blockers: Ana Beatriz Correa, Milka Medeiros, Lara Nobre, Mara Ferreira Leao, Caroline Gattaz, Lara Santos, Ana Carolina Da Silva, Mayany Christina Araujo De Souza

Wing Spikers (Outside & Opposite Hitters): Tandara Caixeta, Drussyla Costa, Amanda Francisco, Lorenne Teixeira, Gabriela Cândido, Tainara Santos, Julia Bergmann, Ana Paula Borgo Bedani Da Cruz, Rosamaria Montibeller, Gabriela Guimaraes, Bruno Honorio Marques, Maira Cipriano Claro, Lana Conceicao, Edinara Brancher, Michelle Pavao

Average age: 27.2 (1st oldest)

Average height: 182.3cm (13th tallest)

Brazil players to watch in FIVB VNL 2019: Gabi, Natalia

The onus is now on some of the team’s younger players and other veterans to step into the hole left by Brazil’s retiring stars & to lead it into the future. Central to that are outside spiker Gabi (24) and opposite spiker Natália (30).

Gabi was named Most Valuable Player during the 2017 South American Club Championship and was atop the Best Spiker leaderboard during the final round of FIVB VNL 2018.

Meanwhile, Natália was part of the team which won gold at the London Olympics in 2012. Given her age, however, she may already be in the twilight of her career. She is though expected to provide leadership and hold the team together as captain as they make a push towards the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Gabi Guimaraes celebrates point

Brazil FIVB VNL 2019 match schedule

All fixture times listed as GMT.

Week 1

May 21 at 23:00 – Brazil v China
May 22 at 23:00 – Brazil v Dominican Republic
May 23 at 23:00 – Brazil v Russia

Week 2

May 28 at 17:30 – Netherlands v Brazil
May 29 at 14:30 – Poland v Brazil
May 30 at 17:30 – Brazil v Bulgaria

Week 3

June 4 at 21:30 – Brazil v Germany
June 5 at 21:30 – Korea v Brazil
June 7 at 00:30 – USA v Brazil

Week 4

June 11 at 10:10 – Japan v Brazil
June 12 at 06:40 – Brazil v Thailand
June 13 at 06:40 – Brazil v Serbia

Week 5

June 18 at 13:00 – Brazil v Italy
June 19 at 13:00 – Belgium v Brazil
June 20 at 16:00 – Turkey v Brazil

Brazil games to watch out for in FIVB VNL 2019

Any pool which contains Brazil, China and Russia is going to be thrilling to watch. Throw in the facts that Brazil edged both its rivals 3-2 in last year’s FIVB VNL and that the matchups are occurring in week one of the 2019 tournament, and it makes for an explosive mix. It should be a fiery start to FIVB VNL 2019.

Also keep an eye out for Brazil’s clash against Turkey, in their final preliminary round fixture. Turkey knocked Brazil out of the 2018 tournament with a 3-0 whitewash in the semis and both teams will be looking to take a psychological edge into the final round, presuming they qualify. If either need a win in that final game it could prove to be compelling viewing.

The bottom line: Can Brazil dominate again?

In the last couple of years, the Brazilian women’s volleyball team has experienced two key blows: that fifth-place finish at home during the Rio Olympics and a seventh-place crash at the 2018 World Championship in Japan, missing out completely on the later rounds.

Those two performances came from a team which had won back-to-back gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Even worse, although a World Championship gold has long eluded Brazil, the team had consistently managed a podium finish in that competition since 2006, including two silver medals.

The losses hinted at the turning tide as the team’s star players aged, even if it managed a fourth-place finish at last year’s FIVB VNL. So now Brazil is in the midst of a transition period, and this FIVB VNL 2019 could potentially be an indicator of where the team is headed, notably as it looks toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This tournament will be crucial for the Brazilians, as it’s a chance for them to pick up the pieces from their recent setback at the World Championship.

The team is still led by its veterans, with many of them making it to statistical leaderboards at last year’s FIVB VNL. But the team will need new energy at this year’s competition. It certainly has the collective talent, experience and skill, so there’s no doubt it will dominate some of the other countries in this competition. But Brazil has never been about simply manhandling lower-tiered teams. This squad goes into every battle with a mission to win it all. So the looming question is whether it can still go toe to toe with the world’s best or, as in the 2018 World Championship, will it underwhelm and stand on the outside looking in once again

What is a realistic FIVB VNL projection for the Brazil women’s team?

Brazil, with its long history of success and playing with pride, will still aim for the gold regardless of recent poor performances. Expect the Brazilians to play with a chip on their shoulders as they go out to prove they’re still a dominant force in international volleyball, despite recent history. It would not be surprising if this team cracks the podium at FIVB VNL 2019, but week one will provide a massive test going up against China and Russia so early in the tournament.

How to watch Brazil in FIVB VNL 2019

FIVB haven’t as yet released the broadcast details for the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. Once it is updated we will update this section.

For now we are able to say that fans in Brazil were able to watch the 2018 tournament on TV Globo.

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