Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 14, 2016 - Italy and Puerto Rico go into their final pool game knowing they can’t progress to the knockout round and, having lost all of their matches so far, looking at their last chance to secure a victory in Rio before they go home.
Italy fought hard against Serbia in their first match, losing 3-0 but pushing the Serbs, and they took a set of USA on August 12. But they were also comfortably beaten by China and the Netherlands and will regard Rio as a major disappointment.
Expectations may have been lower for Puerto Rico but they will be looking to end their Olympic campaign with a victory. So far, they haven’t won a set, but they came close against Serbia, pushing the Europeans to 29-27 in their first set.
The two teams have only met three times in FIVB competitions. They met twice in 2010 – in the FIVB World Championship and the FIVB World Grand Prix – and in the 1982 World Championship. Italy won 3-0 on each occasion.
Italy and Puerto Rico have only one player each in the tournament’s Top 30 scorers; Italy’s Paola Ogechi Egonu is at No. 5 with 73 points, while Puerto Rico’s Karina Ocasio is at No. 19 with 44.