Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 13, 2016 - Italy will be hoping to maintain their perfect record against Olympic hosts Brazil on Saturday. Italy are 3-0 after three matches and have dropped only one set. Brazil by contrast are 2-1 but have lost five sets. All their matches have ended 3-1, including a 3-1 loss to USA and wins over Mexico and Canada.
Brazil will have to be at their best in their final two matches to overcome Italy and France. So far, they have failed to live up to their No. 1 spot in the FIVB Rankings.
The two teams have met 10 times in FIVB competitions in the last two years, with Brazil taking six of those 10 matches.
In this year’s FIVB World League, Brazil breezed past Italy 3-0 in Poland. The two teams met four times in the 2015 World League; Brazil beat Italy 3-0 on two occasions and Italy edged Brazil 3-2 in the other two matches.
Brazil’s Wallace de Souza acknowledged that his team aren’t firing on all cylinders yet: “We will always have something to improve in our play. We have to do better in our game.”
De Souza is the fourth-highest scorer in the tournament, with teammate Ricardo Lucarelli just behind, but Italy have three players among the Top 15 scorers: Ivan Zaytsev, Osmany Juantorena and Filippo Lanza, who is ranked the top spiker in the tournament.
Brazil’s Bruno Rezende and Sergio Santos are the joint-third best diggers.
Brazil’s final match will be against France, Italy’s against Canada.