London 2012

Press release

Brazil and Russia to contribute classy showdown for second round of action in men's tournament


The triple world champions of Brazil were more than pleased with their classy debut in the Olympic tournament whereby they downed Tunisia in straight sets on Sunday

London, Great Britain, July 30, 2012 – Brazil and Russia are set to contribute the absolute highlight in the second day of preliminary action for the men’s tournament at Earls Court on Tuesday. The triple world champions and 2008 silver medalists captained by Giba opened on Sunday their quest for Olympic glory by cruising to a 3-0 win over Tunisia while the winners of the 2011 FIVB World League and World Cup coached by Vladimir Alekno did the same as they played Germany for their debut in London.

These sides have developed a long-lasting rivalry with the last match dating back to last year’s World Cup where Brazil downed Russia in straight sets in what was the only defeat of Mikhaylov & Co. there in Japan. Since Pool B is packed with world-class teams, the outcome of this match may already significantly impact on the final standings of the group and hence in the composition of the 1/4 finals. “We are focused on doing a very good Olympics” had stated Giba on Sunday night after his side’s win over Tunisia.

Actually the daily program on Sunday will be opened by 2011 European champions Serbia who after losing on Sunday in straight sets to the USA will try to redeem that loss by powering past Tunisia. This will be the third time Serbia – formerly competing as Yugoslavia – and Tunisia cross their ways on the Olympic stage after two speedy wins claimed by the “Plavi” in Atlanta and Athens. Serbia will try to prolong its positive record against the Africans having claimed four wins in the international matches so far contested with Tunisia, having dropped only one set back in 1996.

The other match of the day for Pool B will see the United States take up the challenge brought by Germany. The guys mentored by Vital Heynen have enjoyed one of the most memorable seasons of the past decade and even edged the US Americans only a few weeks ago at the World League finals in a match that turned into a terrific battle that was claimed by Germany at the tie-break. If Clayton Stanley and his young guys have impressed in their opening match with Serbia, Germany will need to take a positive result from that game not to compromise their chances to make it to the 1/4 finals. Heynen has spotted – even before the start of the tournament – the USA as a serious contender for the gold medal by singling out the quality, experience and motivation of the side mentored by Alan Knipe. György Grozer will have to step up the quality of his play – which was not that impressive in his Olympic debut with Russia – to help Germany claim its first positive result at Earls Court.

In Pool A, after edging Italy 3-1 on Sunday, Poland got another boost of confidence and will try to delight once more a few thousands of fans perfectly dressed in their white and red outfits by playing Bulgaria for the second match on schedule at Earls Court on Tuesday. This is the fifth time Poland and Bulgaria are testing out their respective likes at the Olympics with the last Olympic confrontation dating back to Atlanta 1996 where Bulgaria scored a 3-0 win. Things have changed pretty much since then and only a few weeks ago Bartosz Kurek and his mates cruised to a speedy 3-0 win over Bulgaria in the semis of the World League. As they miss their superstar Matey Kaziyski, it won’t be easy for Bulgaria to stand Poland’s storm.

Italy will try to improve its record and get back on track after losing to Poland on Sunday by playing Argentina. With most of Argentina’s up-and-coming stars playing in Italy’s national league and their coach Javier Weber being very familiar with Italian volleyball, that game will feature two sides that know pretty well their respective strengths and weaknesses. This is the fifth game Italy will be playing with the South Americans at the Olympics, having so far a perfect record of 4 wins with only two sets conceded to the guys in white and blue jerseys. Italy stands out as the pre-favorite of this game having claimed also last year’s confrontation at the FIVB World Cup in Japan (3-1) but the young guys around FIVB hero Facundo Conte will try to cause a surprise as they are definitely enjoying their first Olympic appearance playing without any pressure.

To complete the schedule of Pool A, the hosts of Great Britain will vie for their first Olympic win by taking on Australia. As they have played some friendly matches in the past, Ben Pipes and Christopher Lamont said on Sunday they know most of Australia’s players and the game is going to be noisy. This is actually another clash to watch out for as the enthusiasm of the British crowd at Earls Court – some 15,000 people are supposed to be in attendance – may carry Team GB to its first victory thereby completing the tremendous development that this group has experienced since it was officially established back in 2007.


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