Russia and Team USA to highlight day 4 of men’s tournament
Germany vs. Tunisia
Germany struggled in the opening of the Olympic tournament losing to Russia and USA in straight sets but eventually got back on track on Thursday after fighting back from two sets down to cruise past 2011 European champions Serbia. By claiming that match Germany still have got their good chances to make it to the 1/4 finals and will open the program on Saturday by playing Tunisia. The Africans have got a negative record of three losses in as many matches so far in the competition, but still they have displayed some good quality since the start of their Olympic adventure in London. Germany will rely chiefly on György Grozer, best scorer of the tournament so far with 61 points, who amassed a terrific haul of 39 on Thursday with Serbia.
Great Britain vs. Poland
Still searching for their first win, the hosts of Great Britain lastly played Italy losing in straight sets and their next, demanding test will be with the winners of the 2012 FIVB World League, Poland. The side mentored by Italian-born Andrea Anastasi is currently ranked third in the world and their standouts Zbigniew Bartman and Bartosz Kurek will surely make life not that easy for the GB guys. After surprisingly losing their second match to Bulgaria, Poland got back on track besting Argentina in three sets and remain one of the top contenders for the medals that will be at stake at Earls Court in one week.
Australia vs. Italy
With a record of 1 win and 2 defeats after three rounds of play, Australia are still in contention for a spot in the 1/4 finals and spiker Thomas Edgar – who top scored in the last match with Bulgaria – will be once again the key to back up the chances of the side from “Down Under” to progress in the tournament. Italy have claimed 2 out of their 3 matches so far and are coming off a 3-0 win over Great Britain, hoping to stretch that good momentum also against Australia. This will be the third time in history Italy and Australia will be crossing their ways at the Olympics, with the 2 wins from the previous clashes sounding as a good omen for the Italians’ quest for glory.
Russia vs. USA
This match will be the absolute highlight of the fourth round of play in the men’s tournament, especially after these sides got a very different return from their respective clashes with the triple world champions of Brazil. Russia have got two wins so far in the competition after losing to Brazil on Tuesday while the USA – together with Bulgaria – are the sole side with an impeccable record in the competition, with three consecutive wins so far. The winners of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing have been well anchored by their captain Clayton Stanley who has scored 48 points so far and can rely on an offensive line whose efficiency rate stands as the second-best in the starting field of the Olympic tournament.
Argentina vs. Bulgaria
Bulgaria have quite surprisingly claimed three consecutive wins in Pool A causing also the real major surprise of the competition by beating Poland in the second round of play this past Tuesday. On the other side, Argentina – with one win and two losses – need a victory to ease up their way to the 1/4 finals. It won’t be easy for the South Americans, and while the Olympic head-to-heads between these sides stand at 1-1, Bulgaria will try to prolong their dream once again cheered by the President of the national Olympic Committee, former high-jumper Stefka Kostadinova, who has been in attendance in all of their previous matches at Earls Court.
Brazil vs. Serbia
The program of the day will be rounded out by the 2008 silver medallists and triple world champions of Brazil playing Serbia. Brazil come from a defeat to Team USA in what was a remake of the last Olympic final while Serbia lost to Germany on Thursday after leading the way there 2-0. Once again, Brazil’s stellar wing spiker Murilo Endres – who has contributed 34 points to his side in the competition – will be the one to follow closely as Serbia will respond with a group of young, but still highly motivated players.