2019 FIVB VNL Preview: Portugal Men's National Team

Newcomer Portugal will provide fresh competition for the usual participants at FIVB VNL 2019. The team does not have significant world volleyball experience so it should be interesting to see how they stack up in this tournament. 

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Can they make an impact right away?

2018 FIVB VNL record & stats

Win/loss: N/A 

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Sets win/loss/ratio: N/A 

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Final position: 1st Challenger Cup

What’s new for Portugal in FIVB VNL 2019?

The last time we saw Portugal was during the 2018 Challenger Cup, the qualifier for this tournament. They had a relatively old team then with an average age of 28 years old but it’s likely we’ll see pretty much the same faces for FIVB VNL 2019. 

Portugal world ranking: 31 (October 2018)

Portugal FIVB VNL 2019 match schedule

Week 1

May 31 at 7:10 PM CT – Argentina v Portugal 

June 1 at 4:10 PM CT – Canada v Portugal 

June 2 at 3:10 PM CT – Portugal v Bulgaria

Week 2

June 7 at 9 AM CT – Russia v Portugal 

June 8 at 6 AM CT – Italy v Portugal 

June 9 at 6 AM CT – Portugal v USA

Week 3

June 14 at 9 PM CT – Portugal v China 

June 15 at 1 PM CT – Portugal v Serbia 

June 16 at 12 PM CT – Portugal v Brazil

Week 4

June 21 at 9 AM CT – Iran v Portugal 

June 22 at 6 AM CT – France v Portugal 

June 23 at 6 AM CT – Portugal v Australia

Week 5

June 28 at 1:30 PM CT – Germany v Portugal 

June 29 at 1:30 PM CT – Portugal v Japan 

June 29 at 10 AM CT – Poland v Portugal

Portugal games to watch out for in FIVB VNL 2019

As a new challenger, all of Portugal’s games are certainly worth watching if just to gauge how it will fare against the world’s best. But if we’re to pick specific teams, Portugal going up against fellow challengers Australia, Bulgaria and Canada should be competitive.

Portugal provisional roster

Head coach: Hugo Silva 

Liberos: Gil Pereira, João Fidalgo 

Setters: Tiago Violas, Miguel Tavares Rodrigues, Frederico Santos, Jose Pedro Monteiro, Afonso Reis 

Middle Blockers: Nuno Teixeira, Filip Cveticanin, Phelipe Martins, Guilherme Menezes, Januario Silva, Miguel Sinfronio 

Wing Spikers (Outside & Opposite Hitters): Valdir Sequeira, Andre Marques, Alexandre Ferreira, Marco Ferreira, Joao Simoes, Bruno Cunha, Lourenço Martins, Caique Oswaldo Ferreira Da Silva, Hugo Gaspar, Jose Gomes 

Average age: 26.8 (4th oldest)

Average height: 193 cm (14th tallest)

Portugal players to watch in FIVB VNL 2019: Alexandre Ferreira, Marco Ferreira, Miguel Tavares Rodrigues, Valdir Sequeira

Team captain and outside hitter Alexandre Ferreira, 27, was Portugal’s top scorer during the Challenger Cup with 64 points. He was part of the Portuguese team that won its first gold in the 2010 European League. 

Opposite Marco Ferreira, 31, is another one to watch. He plays in South Korea and was the second best scorer for Portugal at the Challenger Cup. Setter Miguel Tavares Rodrigues, on the other hand, has shown potential at the Challenger Cup. He’s only still 26 years old and plays in Italy. 

Finally, 37-year-old opposite Valdir Sequeira provided the veteran experience for Portugal at the Challenger Cup. How much he will suit up in the FIVB VNL 2019 is up for debate but he was the Most Valuable Player during his team’s gold medal run at the 2010 European League so he’s also worth watching.

The bottom line: Newcomer Portugal keen to prove itself

Portugal has struggled to compete at the world level over the years. The team has so far only participated twice in the World Championship – in 1956 and in 2002, where they finished eighth. They also haven’t qualified for the Olympics. 

The squad’s success in Europe is limited to the European League, having won gold, silver and bronze in 2010, 2007, and 2009, respectively. Ranked 31st in the world, Portugal is clearly a long way away from becoming contenders on the world stage. But participation in tournaments like FIVB VNL is a step in the right direction. Most of the team’s roster plays domestically with some venturing elsewhere in Europe and Asia. 

Being exposed to the most competitive volleyball would obviously be beneficial to them. It should also be a nice way to get a sense of what the team needs to work on in terms of skills and overall game play in order to improve. Despite this team’s inexperience, no one should take Portugal lightly. 

They will be coming in with a chip on their shoulders, raring to pull off surprises here and there, and to prove themselves to the world.

What is a realistic FIVB VNL projection for the Portugal men’s team?

Staying on for next year’s tournament should be the primary goal for Portugal. This team is still trying to climb up the world ranking and could do with the higher level of competition that comes with a tournament like FIVB VNL.

How to watch Portugal in FIVB VNL 2019

Watch the VNL LIVE on FloVolleyball all season long.

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