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The 2019 was undoubtedly a year of high demand for Marcelo Mendez’s National Team, which ended a season that included 45 games in 6 official competitions with goals achieved and a great collective performance facing the 2020 season. The review of an intense year, here.

The start of the season was on April 22 with a total of 35 players summoned to face the total of the competitions, many of them played at the same time, and with a clear goal: the qualification to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the new scheme proposed by the International Federation.

The presentation of the team and Mendez as coach was in San Juan, in a friendly series against Chile and Portugal prior to the Nations League. The team debuted on the VNL on May 31 at home at the Aconcagua Arena in Mendoza against Portugal, then faced Bulgaria and closed against Canada. It was the first of five weeks of competition, which completed a total of 15 games with a balance of 8 wins and 7 losses.

Resounding victories against Bulgaria, France, Italy and Serbia, added to great performances that ended in tight falls against the world champion Poland, the Olympic champion Brazil and Russia, which would end up crowning in the tournament, started to show signs of a new identity that would continue to solidify during the year.

At the end of the third weekend of the VNL, Argentina also faced the Pan American Cup with a group of players headed by Fabian Muraco that was preparing the Pan American Games. In that competition, the National Team faced 6 games and won 4, getting the silver medal after falling in the final against Cuba.

With a test match with Chile in the middle, that same team arrived in Lima towards the end of July and debuted on the 31st against the islanders within Group A. There were 5 games and 5 celebrations for Argentina, that was crowned undefeated and reached the double championship. Under Horacio Dileo’s orders, on Sunday, August 4, the National Team won the gold medal and just 5 days later and on the other side of the world, the group commanded by Mendez would begin its adventure looking for a place for Tokyo 2020. A desired goal, but nothing easy in the new international scheme.

The overlapping of competences forced an exhaustive planning, two coaching staffs, teams and efforts to leave Argentina at the top in each one of those appointments. An objective of that type required huge logistics, and although the first step was done, the best was yet to come.

The brand-new Olympic Qualifiers consisted of six intercontinental groups that distributed the first places in Tokyo for the 24 best teams in the ranking. Argentina had to face Canada, Finland and China in Ningbo to win the tournament and it did so, with three solid victories that gave the berth to Tokyo in the first instance. The great goal of the season was fulfilled.

The demand stopped for a few weeks where the team returned to the country and organized its forces once again. Friendly matches against Brazil in El Calafate thinking on the South American Championship were the next step. There were two games in the south of the country and then the tour continued in Campinas and San Pablo, with two more games.

From September 10 to 14, the fifth official tournament in Chile was held, the 33rd edition of the South American Championship, which had Argentina in the five games, with three wins and a new silver medal after falling in a tight final against Brazil by 3-2. Only a step away from history, since the Brazilians holds 32 titles in this competition. It would be the last stop of the team before the World Cup in Japan, the final tournament of the year. Eleven games in 15 days to close the calendar against the best teams in the world.

The team traveled to Asia to get ready a week before the tournament and on October 1 debuted against the United States in Fukuoka. A notable victory against the defending champion would be the prelude of the five subsequent wins that left the team in the fifth position, matching their best historical mark (1985-2015). The National Team would later win over Tunisia, Russia, Egypt and Australia with a good collective performance and outstanding individual performances to crown an spectacular season.

Six months of competition, six tournaments on the calendar, 45 official matches with a total of 29 wins, four friendly series (against Chile, Portugal and Brazil), 9 countries visited - with a double pass through Japan and Chile - and very positive results: Olympic qualification, gold medal in the Pan American Games and silver medals in the South American Championship and the Pan American Cup in the hands of a team that was competitive in each tournament it played and that now starts to fullfill it dream of Tokyo 2020.


VNL | May to June |
VNL in Mendoza vs Portugal, Bulgaria, Canada
VNL in Japan vs Iran, Brazil, Japan
VNL in France United States, France, Germany
VNL in Italy vs Poland, Italy and Serbia
VNL in Australia vs China, Russia and Australia

June | Pan American Cup in Tolima vs Cuba, Suriname, Canada, USA, Mexico and Cuba.
July / August | Pan American Games in Lima vs Cuba, Peru, Puerto Rico, Chile and Cuba.
August | Pre-Olympic in China vs Canada, Finland and China.
September | South American in Chile vs Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela and Brazil.
October | World Cup in Fukuoka and Hiroshima vs USA, Tunisia, Italy, Poland, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Iran, Russia, Egypt and Australia.

May | San Juan | vs Chile and Portugal.
July | Chile | 2 vs Chile.
August | El Calafate | 2 vs Brazil.
August / September | Campinas and San Pablo | vs Brazil.

COUNTRIES VISITED: Japan (2 times), France, Italy, Australia, Peru, Chile (2 times), Brazil, Colombia and China.