Rio de Janeiro, August 9, 2016 - Italy's Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai, Italy are hoping to recover from a first-round upset with a win against Tunisia's Continental Cup qualifiers, Choaib Belhaj/Mohamed Naceur. Both teams lost their opening match and will need to win to avoid missing the elimination stage.
Head to Head
The two teams have never met in FIVB World Tour competition.
Historically the #10 seed has won two of the three pool play meetings over the #22 seed in the Olympic Games, with the lower seed pulling a three-set upset in London (2012). The higher seed won in straight sets in Beijing (2008) and Athens (2004) and won 15-11 in round 2 in Sydney (2000).
Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai, Italy, Seed #10, Pool C, 0-1, 0.500 Set Ratio, 0.9200 Point Ratio, Qualified 10th with 5,220 Points in the 2015-16 Olympic qualification period
• Daniele: May 6, 1991 (25y3m0d), 195 cm (6'5"), 80 kg (178 lbs.), Hometown Rome, 62nd FIVB World Tour event, three gold medals, $312,487 career winnings (ranks 63rd)
• Paolo: August 6, 1988 (28y0m0d), 203 cm (6'8"), 91 kg (202 lbs.), Hometown Ortona, 82nd FIVB World Tour event, three gold medals, $358,412 career winnings (ranks 55th)
• Daniele and Paolo have been playing together since 2011. They are playing in their 58th FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together (ranks 46th), three gold medals, $620,175 career winnings (ranks 25th).
• Daniele has played in 15 FIVB World Tour final fours with three gold, five silver, five bronze medals and two 4th place finishes.
• Paolo has played in 15 FIVB World Tour final fours with three gold, five silver, five bronze medals and two 4th place finishes.
• Daniele and Paolo have played in four Final Fours in 2015-2016 (Bronze Sochi Open 2015, Silver Vitória Open 2016, Silver Fuzhou Open 2016, Gold Sochi Open 2016).
• Daniele and Paolo finished 5th in the Olympic Games in 2012 (London).
• Daniele and Paolo finished 9th in the FIVB World Championships in 2013 (Stare Jablonki) and 17th in 2015 (The Hague).
• Daniele finished 33rd in the FIVB World Championships with Andrea Tomatis in 2011 (Rome).
• Paolo finished 17th in the FIVB World Championships in 2009 (Stavanger) and 9th in 2011 (Rome), both with Matteo Martino.
• Daniele and Paolo are currently ranked 22nd in FIVB World Tour points in 2016 with 3,120 points and 20th in winnings with $70,575.
• Daniele and Paolo have a career 200-101 (66.4%) match record in FIVB World Tour Events and a 63-37 (63.0%) record in 2015-16.
• Daniele and Paolo won the gold medal at the European (CEV) Continental Championships in 2014 (Cagliari, Italy) and 2016 (Biel, Switzerland).
• Paolo won the silver medal at the U19 World Championships with Francesco Giontella in 2006 (Bermuda, Bermuda).
• Paolo won the gold medal at the U21 World Championships in 2007 (Modena, Italy) and 2008 (Brighton, England), both with Francesco Giontella.
• Paolo Nicolai was named the FIVB World Tour Most Improved Player in 2012 and Best Offensive Player in 2014.
• Lost to Lombardo Ontiveros / Juan Virgen, Mexico (15), 21-14, 14-21, and 11-15 in 48 minutes.
Choaib Belhaj/Mohamed Naceur, Tunisia, Seed #22, Pool C, 0-1, 0.000 Set Ratio, 0.4762 Point Ratio, Qualified through African Confederation (CAVB) Continental Cup
• Choaib: June 4, 1987 (29y2m2d), 194 cm (6'4"), 86 kg (191 lbs.), Hometown Menzel Tmime, 2nd FIVB World Tour event, $1,700 career winnings
• Mohamed: November 4, 1988 (27y9m2d), 190 cm (6'3"), 81 kg (180 lbs.), Hometown Hamem Ghzez, 2nd FIVB World Tour event, $1,700 career winnings
• Choaib and Mohamed have been playing together since 2015. They are playing in their 2nd FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together, $3,400 career winnings.
• Choaib and Mohamed finished 37th in the FIVB World Championships in 2015 (The Hague).
• Choaib and Mohamed are the first team from Tunisia to compete in the Olympic Games for beach volleyball.
• Choaib and Mohamed with one previous FIVB World Tour event each are tied with Cuba's Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez as the least experienced men's players at the Rio Olympics.
• Choaib and Mohamed have a career 0-4 (0.0%) match record in FIVB World Tour Events, all in 2015-16.
• Chaoib and Mohamed finished 5th in the 11th All African Games in 2015 (Congo).
• On home sand in Kelibia, the Tunisians posted CAVB Continental Cup pool play wins at the start of May over pairs from Egypt, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Gambia. In the African "final four" Continental Cup matches, the Tunisians defeated Angola in the semi-finals before advancing to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a 2-1 win over Morocco.
• Chaoib and Mohamed made history last June as they were first players from their country to compete in the FIVB World Championships. The last time Tunisia had players competing in a FIVB World Tour event was 1998. Salah and Naceur qualified for the FIVB World Championships by winning their pool in the African qualifier and advanced to the top of the podium by defeating pairs from Ghana and South Africa for the gold medal.
• Lost to Phil Dalhausser / Nick Lucena, United States (3), 7-21 and 13-21 in 30 minutes.