Thailand lose to Brazil but win praise from rivals
published : 16 Jun 2021 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
Thailand ended their fourth week in the Women's Volleyball Nations League with a 3-0 loss to Brazil in Rimini, Italy, on Monday night.
It was Thailand's 11th defeat in 12 matches in the 2021 VNL, having begun the fourth week with a win over Germany and a loss to Poland.
After five weeks of the 16-team tournament, the top-four teams reach the semi-finals. Brazil are closing in on a last-four spot with a 10-2 record, while Thailand are 11-1.
Despite Monday's comprehensive 25-11, 25-14, 25-10 defeat, the Thais won praise from their South American opponents.
"We are really happy about this victory," said Brazil star Gabi Guimaraes. "We know how good Thailand can play and that they can put pressure on us.
"To be honest, it's always a pleasure to play against them because they always show us and teach us a lot of things. They always keep pushing and always smiling.
"When we play against them we always want to do our best because we know it's not an easy game. It's also a pleasure to play with them because we know that many of them will retire soon."
Thailand's Pleumjit Thinkaow said: "Brazil are a very strong team. They had a great service and our reception didn't work well. This week we managed to earn our first victory at this VNL, so we are really happy."
It could be the last international event for Thailand's Fab Five -- Pleumjit, Onuma Sittirak, Malika Kanthong, Nootsara Tomkom and Wilavan Apinyapong.
Indeed, they were called up to the VNL squad only after a large number of players tested positive for Covid-19 just before the tournament began.
Thailand end their 2021 VNL campaign against Belgium on Friday, Canada on Saturday, and hosts Italy on Sunday.