Despite Wallace's 21 points, Sada Cruzeiro fell to Minas on Friday (Photo: Agenciai7/Sada Cruzeiro)

Sada Cruzeiro and FUNVIC – Fundação Universitária Vida Cristã will both be looking for a fresh start in this week’s 2021 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship in Betim after they dropped their last Brazilian Superliga matches ahead of the tournament over the weekend.

Three-time world champions Sada Cruzeiro had a difficult challenge in in-state rivals and Superliga leaders Fiat Gerdau Minas on the road on Friday. Sada Cruzeiro fought but fell 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-23) to the only undefeated team in the country in Belo Horizonte.

Rio 2016 Olympic champion opposite Wallace de Souza produced 21 points (17 kills, two blocks and two aces) for Sada Cruzeiro, the same amount fellow former national team player and Olympic medallist Leandro Vissotto tallied for the winners (15 kills, three blocks and three aces).

“Minas are playing really well and are at the top of the standings for good reason,” said Sada Cruzeiro outside hitter Rodriguinho Leao. “We have to watch film and figure out where we need to improve. But now we need to put this match behind us and focus on the World Championship. I’m confident we’ll be able to play at our best.”

FUNVIC also played on the road on Saturday and couldn’t handle Vedacit Volei Guarulhos in Sao Paulo. The team coached by Argentinean Olympian Javier Weber were competitive for most of the match, but eventually lost in four sets (28-26, 23-25, 25-20, 25-11).


Cuban Elian Estrada is Funvic's leading scorer (Photo: Wander Roberto/Inovafoto/CBV)

For libero and captain Thales Hoss, a Tokyo Olympian and 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League winner with Brazil, the team's performance in the fourth set put the team on alert ahead of their trip to Betim.

“It’s hard to explain what happened,” he reflected. “But we can’t play as poorly as we played in the fourth set. We played fairly well in the first three sets but our level dropped way too much in the last one. We need to understand why that happened and learn from it so it doesn’t happen again.”

Cuban outside hitter Elian Estrada was FUNVIC’s top scorer in the match with 21 points (19 kills and two blocks). Guarulhos’ opposite Franco Paese led all scorers with 26 (24 kills and two blocks).

FUNVIC open the Club World Championship on Tuesday, at 18.00 local time, against Argentina’s UPCN San Juan. Later, at 21.30 local time, three-time champions Sada Cruzeiro debut against Iran’s Sirjan Foolad.

Both matches, and every other match in the tournament, will be streamed live on Volleyball TV.