Two volleyball giants clash for Rio bronze


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 20, 2016 - The last competition day of the volleyball tournament at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Sunday will start with the men’s bronze medal match featuring the United States and Russia. They would have surely preferred to play for gold, but would not want to go home without a medal either.

USA and Russia (including predecessors USSR and CIS) have met 55 times on the global stage. The Russians have come out victorious 33 times and the Americans -22 times.

This will be the tenth time the two teams meet at Olympic Games. They faced each other at Tokyo 1964, at Mexico 1968, at Seoul 1988, at Barcelona 1992, at Sydney 2000, twice at Athens 2004, at Beijing 2008 and at London 2012. The Russians won five of these encounters, including the bronze medal match in 2004 by 3-0 (25-22, 27-25, 25-16). Four years ago, in London, the European side mastered a 3-2 (27-29, 19-25, 26-24, 25-16, 15-8) victory.

The Americans are currently on a six-match winning streak against the Russians, which started in June 2015. Most recently, USA and Russia met in this year’s FIVB Volleyball World League. On July 3, 2016 in Dallas, the home side achieved a 3-0 (35-33, 25-17, 25-21) shutout.

On Sunday in Rio, the United States will be chasing their fifth Olympic medal after the gold medals in 1984, 1988 and 2008 and the bronze in 1992. At this Olympic Games they finished third in Pool A, knocked out the reigning world champions Poland in straight sets in the quarterfinals, but lost their thrilling semifinal clash with Italy by 2-3.

USA’s Matthew Anderson and Aaron Russell are third and fourth in the Best Scorers ranking of the tournament with 107 and 105, respectively.

Erik Shoji leads the Best Diggers with an average of 1.81 digs per set. In the Best Receivers chart, Shoji is second only to teammate Taylor Sander.

The Russians are the most decorated team in Olympic history. If they lose to USA on Sunday, this will be their only third participation to end up without a medal, after finishing seventh at Barcelona 1992 and fourth at Atlanta 1996. Since 1964 they have won four gold (including the title from the previous edition in 2012), three silver and three bronze medals.

To get to the bronze medal match at Rio 2016, Russia finished third in Pool B, shut out Canada in the quarterfinals and lost to hosts Brazil in straight sets in the semifinals.

The best scorer for the reigning Olympic champions at this competition is Maxim Mikhaylov, whose 97 points place him sixth in the overall ranking. He tops the chart for Best Spikers with a 40.00% efficiency rate in attack.

His teammate Artem Volvich leads the Best Blockers ranking with an average of 0.88 kill blocks per set.


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