As the 18th staging of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship draws near, Volleyverse will give a preview of all 24 teams participating in one of the sport’s most prestigious competitions. Japan will be witness to some intense volleyball action as the best nations in the world battle it out to win the coveted title. For now, let’s look at the teams that qualified from South America: Argentina and Brazil.
Argentina women’s volleyball team – training high, aiming high
The Argentinian national volleyball might have considered the CSV Championship as a low point in their recent history. Even though they were the second-highest ranked squad by FIVB among the six nations that participated, they only managed to win two games. It’s a performance that is not reassuring of a World Championship berth. So, what did head coach Guillermo Orduna do to prepare for the qualifiers? He had his team train in the mountains.
They had their training camp at Humahuaca, Argentina which was 3000 meters above sea level. This location is perfect for the qualifiers will be played in Arequipa, Peru which has an altitude of at least 2000 meters. The preparations bode well for Argentina as they swept the host nation, Uruguay, and Columbia to book the second spot for the FIVB Women’s World Championship 2018 dedicated to the Confederación Sudamericana de Voleibol.
But while it is certain that Argentina will play in Japan, there has been much uncertainty with their roster as Orduna decided to leave out long-time national team player Paula Yamila Nizetich from the squad after she gave some harsh criticisms about the level by which the team is competing. She was released just before the training camp for the World Championships started and her departure is a huge void given her impressive performances in the CSV qualifying tournament against Uruguay and Peru.
Despite the absence of one of their top players, the Las Panteras remain a formidable foe especially for the other teams in Pool A. Opponents must be wary of their deep rotation at middle blocker with Julieta Lazcano who led the squad in the qualifier against Columbia, Natalia Aispurua who was hailed second-best middle blocker in the 2017 Pan-American Cup, and Florencia Busquets who has been named as Best Blocker in both the Argentinian and the Peruvian leagues.
Meanwhile, the attack from the wings are Elina Rodriguez, Tanya Acosta, and opposite spiker Priscila Bosio. Tatiana Soledad Rizzo and Morena Martinez Franchi will fortify the defense at libero while Clarisa Sagardia will run their offense smoothly at setter.
Brazil women’s volleyball team – best in the region
A glance at Team Brazil’s recent accomplishments makes them by far the best volleyball team in South America. The won the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix and took home bronze in the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Italy. They also won gold in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics before finishing a disappointing fifth in their home floor in 2016. Two years since, there are still strong indications that the fourth-best team in the world is primed for a deep run in the 2018 Women’s World Championship.
For starters, Olympic champions Danielle Lins and Thaisa Menezes will compete for Brazil once more after missing action due to various reasons. The setter Lins returned after giving birth to her first child while middle blocker Thaisa overcame knee and ankle injuries. They will join an already loaded roster for coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes featuring opposite spiker Tandara Caixeta, 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix Most Valuable Player Natalia Pereira, and Ana Carolina da Silva.
The return of Menezes will shore up their net defense as she, Ana Carolina, current Brazilian Superliga Best Blocker Ana Beatriz Correa, and Adenizia da Silva will make life hard for opposing spikers. Meanwhile, Rosamaria Montibeller and Gabriela Guimaraes are the players to watch out from the wings. Defending Brazilian Superliga best setter and team captain Roberta Ratzke will have an enviable job of setting the ball to these players while Suelen Pinto is their defensive ace at libero.
With a roster this talented, anything short of a semifinal appearance at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship 2018 will be deemed a disappointment. Pool D teams, you have been warned.