London 2012

Press release

Team USA and Argentina sparring partners at Earls Court on the eve of opening ceremony

Anchored by the offensive power of captain Clayton Stanley (13) the US Americans look determined to retain their crown from the Beijing Olympics

London, Great Britain, July 26, 2012 – The United States and Argentina played a sort of friendly match on Thursday at Earls Court as the start of the Olympic tournament is quickly approaching. They eventually drew 2-2 and as US American star Matthew Anderson says, “it was a good warm-up especially since we have not had a game in weeks. We were able to fix some problems and Argentina showed they are very good”.

Germany’s coach Vital Heynen has spotted Team USA as a serious medal contender here in London and William “Reid” Priddy seems to be pretty confident his side may even go for back-to-back crowns after finishing atop of the charts four years ago in Beijing. “This squad is stronger than the victory team at Beijing. Four years ago we were a very stable group but this time we have more firepower from the attacking players and the service line. We have peaks and valleys but this time the peaks are much higher”.

The US Americans were assigned to a very tough preliminary group including other top teams like Russia and Brazil. And their opening match against Serbia on Sunday won’t be that easy even though the group mentored by Igor Kolakovic did not display its best up to now, going through many ups and downs also in the FIVB World League. “Serbia is a very talented and interesting team” says libero Richard Lambourne. “They are an all-round team and always very challenging to play against”.

Argentina, on the other side, will be opening its Olympic campaign by playing Australia. It is very much anticipated that this game will turn into a family affair with Australia’s coach Jon Uriarte playing his son Nicolas. “It is a bit strange but at the same time really exciting and emotional” says the young Argentinean player, who was voted MVP of the 2009 FIVB Junior World Championship. “My family will be evidently supporting Argentina but they will be cheering on both of us. I have been talking to my father lately, but not much about this game. We just laugh about it”.

"I think the spirit inside the family is of happiness and celebration. It's quite a delicate moment for all of us. I have been happy in my life through volleyball. I never push my children but they all play. It's huge, it's going to be fantastic to play Nicolas and Argentina on Sunday" singles out dad Jon.

The South Americans are a very young group with the addition of 35-year old Gabriel Arroyo. After claiming impressive results in the youth and junior categories, coach Javier Weber has been able to bring these guys up to the next level, an evolution sanctioned by the qualification to the Olympics. “We are young but we have been playing together for four years and we keep on improving the quality of our play. We are going to demonstrate it at this tournament” says Facundo Conte, one of a few second-generation players whose intention is to follow in the footsteps of the golden group from the ‘80s that included Facundo’s dad, Hugo, as well as the current Australian mentor Jon Uriarte.

Rodrigo Quiroga also hails from a volleyball family and is evidently delighted with his first Olympic appearance. “It is a dream to be here” reveals the Argentinean captain, “I worked very hard and want to enjoy it. The match with Australia will be difficult because we are going to feel a lot of pressure but we have to deal with it”. After missing the Beijing Games, he certainly wants to go for the best possible result, even though many other teams look – at least on paper – more likely to fight for the medals. “It is a dream, let’s see if we can make it happen” concludes Facundo Conte.
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