Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 10, 2016 - The third competition day of the men’s volleyball tournament at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will end with a very exciting clash between two of the medal favourites. On Thursday evening, at a sold-out Maracanazinho sports hall, host Brazil will entertain USA, who are still chasing their first victory in Rio.
On Tuesday, Brazil recorded their second win in Pool A with a 3-1 (24-26, 25-18, 25-22, 25-17) turn-around against ambitious Canada. Mauricio Borges Almeida Silva was the team’s most prolific player with 16 points, including three winning blocks and two aces.
“The match with the United States is going to be a very important game,” said Brazil’s coach Bernardo Rezende. “It is like life or death for them. They have to win. It is crucial for them to win.”
Indeed, after the upset they suffered from Canada on Sunday, the Americans recorded another loss on Tuesday – 1-3 (26-28, 25-20, 23-25, 23-25) against Italy, despite the 22 points from the game’s top scorer Aaron Russell – and are still winless in Rio, ahead of neighbouring Mexico in the standings only on set point ratio.
John Speraw’s squad, however, has no intention of folding up the banners. “We have come out short in our first two matches,” their captain David Lee said. “But I am proud of my team because we competed. We are getting better and I hope we can play even better against Brazil.”
Brazil and USA met twice in this year’s edition of the FIVB Volleyball World League. On June 18, the home side achieved a 3-1 (25-19, 25-15, 22-25, 25-22) victory in Rio de Janeiro. Some four weeks later, on July 15, at the finals in Krakow, Poland, the South Americans mastered a spectacular comeback from two sets down towards a 3-2 (24-26, 21-25, 28-26, 25-21, 15-12) win against their North American rivals.