Andrea Zorzi: Pavlov and Muserskiy combo will be key for Russia
"Russia will start the game against Iran as favourites. I thought Iran might struggle as a team after they changed their coach, but they continued to perform at a very high level and qualified well.
"Dmitriy Muserskiy is obviously a key player, but I'd also point out how well that the setter combines with Nikolay Pavlov, who can be very effective. If he feeds those two players well, Iran have no chance.
"For Iran, the setter Marouflakrani is crucial. He is a very good player, and I'd point to his relationship with Amir Ghafour as very important. If those two combine well, they will compete.
"The USA vs Italy game is difficult to call. Italy are playing at home, and that doesn't always help you – look at Brazil in the football World Cup! Being at home is an amplifier – if they do well, the crowd will help them, if they start to struggle, it could make things worse.
"Italy perhaps have the most balanced team of any side at the competition. Jiri Kovar, Simone Parodi and Ivan Zaytsev are all very good players. Zaytsev gets the big points but I'd also watch out for Kovar.
"USA have Matt Anderson, who is one of the best players in the world. He has switched position and is now playing as an opposite, where he is very good. They have a new spiker, Taylor Sander, and he will need to perform, because the USA need more than Anderson to win."
Andrea Zorzi is a former Italian volleyball star who won two FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship crowns in 1990 and 1994 as well as three World League titles from 1990-1992 where he also won the Most Valuable Player award at both the 1990 and 1991 editions. He was also a silver medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and won the 1989 European Championship in a career which spanned 325 matches. After retiring in 1998, he collaborated with a number of important Italian TV networks as well as international newspapers as a journalist.
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