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Brazil coach touting China

2019-09-26 10:59:00 chinadaily

SAPPORO, Japan - The head coach of Brazil's women's national team thinks China, along with the United States and Serbia, will be hot favorites at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

"China, the US and Serbia," Jose Roberto Guimaraes told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Monday when asked to rank title contenders at next summer's Games.

"I think Brazil is in the second group. We have a very good team, but we need to improve."

Guimaraes is leading the two-time Olympic champion's campaign at the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup with a 4-3 record ahead of Tuesday night's game against Japan.

Without London 2012 Olympic champions Natalia Pereira and Tandara Caixeta, Ze Roberto's team lost to Team USA in straight sets before dropping a five-set thriller to China.

"It's difficult playing against China and the US without these players because they have complete squad at the moment.

"We tried to learn from them. They are at a high level, unbelievable. For us, it's very important to be here and to try to adjust to next season," said the 65-year-old.

Guimaraes was highly complimentary about defending champion China, which moved to 8-0 with a 25-12, 25-12, 25-14 victory over Kenya on Monday night.

He labeled Yuan Xinyue and captain Zhu Ting, who both scored 26 points against Brazil, as "amazing, incredible," while praising Zhang Changning and Yan Ni as well.

"If the Olympic Games started today, China would be ready," said the coach, who led both Brazil's men's and women's team to Olympic glory.

Despite positioning his team in a second group at Tokyo 2020, Guimaraes sees potential in young players, including 23-year-old Lorenne Teixeira and Drussyla Costa.

"They have good potential. Lorenne, Drussyla and Mara played this year. They improved, this is very important," said Guimaraes, adding that Pereira's return from injury will strengthen a team that has already won Olympic qualification.

In China's win over Team USA, captain Zhu had a game-high 26 points, including 17 from 35 spikes. She also contributed five kill blocks and one ace.

Zhang Changning added 13 points and Yuan Xinyue recorded 10.

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