23 September 2021

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Tokyo 2020: Poland and ROC win pools, France enters country’s volleyball history. Argentina and Japan last qualified, United States eliminated!

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At the end of the group stage, the world champions of Poland played probably their best match so far in Tokyo, defeating Canada in a very confidently way by 3-0. Thus, Vital Heynen’s wards secured a top spot in Pool A, facing France in the quarterfinals. Bartosz Kurek put down 17 points for the winners with 64.7% attack, 11/17, including 5 blocks, while Wilfredo León served 5 aces. Luckily, despite this defeat, Canada’s quarterfinal berth is safe. The remaining two matches in this pool, which will be played later on, will determine seeding for the top 8.

Even though it lost to the defending Olympic champion Brazil in the last round of the group stage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the France Men’s National Team went down the history of the country’s volleyball by qualifying for the quarterfinals for the first time ever.
France earned its place in the quarterfinals by prolonging the match against Brazil (already qualified for the quarterfinals) to the tie-break on Day 5 – the last day of the group stage – in Pool B. Thus, they wrote one of the most beautiful pages in the history of French volleyball by continuing the competition in the Olympics after the preliminary stage.
Having a very difficult position after setbacks against USA and Argentina, France was amazing in their next two encounters, beating the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and now playing the tie-break against the titleholder Brazil: 2-3 (22:25, 39:37, 17:25, 25:21, 18:20).
One point from this match was exactly what Laurent Tillie’s side needed to secure promotion to the Top 8. However, the way they achieved it was quite nerve-racking, especially the second set in which France tied the match at 1-1 by converting the 11th set ball for 39:37! And nobody knows in which way the match would go if Brazil took the lead of 2-0 in sets.
Earvin Ngapeth smashed 29 points for France, 13 in the first two sets, while Nicolas Le Goff made 5 winning blocks. Wallace de Souza tallied 23 points on the other side of the net, while Lucas Saatkamp made 7 blocks and Thales Hoss 75.9% reception (22/29).

Only one quarterfinal ticket from Pool B is yet to be assigned: USA or Argentina, who will face each other later today.
The ROC became the third quarterfinalist participant from this pool, as they beat Tunisia in straight sets and claimed first place in the pool, meaning it will play against the fourth-placed side from Pool A in the elimination phase. The most prolific player of the winners was again Maksim Mikhaylov, who scored 15 points, while Egor Kliuka had 84.6% reception (11/13). Wassim Ben Tara collected 14 points for Tunisia.

And so…what about other matches?
Argentina and Japan prevail in do-or-die matches for quarterfinals, United States eliminated!
Argentina beat the United States on the last day of the preliminary stage and qualified for the quarterfinals on the last day of the group stage (Pool B) in what was a little piece of sensation. The larger is the elimination of its rival from the competition!
After starting off on the wrong foot and losing to the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and Brazil, the team commanded by Marcelo Méndez claimed three wins and sealed one of the two remaining spots in the Top 8 across all pools.
In less than an hour, Argentina beat the USA by a 3-0 (25:21, 25:23, 25:23) and prevented the three-time Olympic champion and bronze medalist from Rio 2016 to continue the Tokyo campaign. Facundo Conte was the top scorer of the South Americans with 16 points, while Santiago Danani made 81.3% reception (13/16), and Torey DeFalco scored 13 points for the United States.

Back to Pool A, Japan’s tie-break victory over Iran confirmed its classification among the Top 4 in the Pool and the first advancement to the quarterfinals of the Olympics in 29 years (the last in Barcelona 1992). Yuji Nishida was absolutely the best scoring 30 for the host, including 4 blocks, while Yuki Ishikawa served 4 aces and made 70.4% reception (21/27; 2 errors). Meisam Salehi scored 26 for Iran, while Seyed Mousavi set up 5 blocks.

Close the picture an east victory of already qualified Italy over the modest Venezuela.

And about quarterfinals, scheduled on the night of August 3 (in Europe), the matches are:
• Canada (4a) – ROC (1b)
• Japan (3a) – Brazil (2b)
• Italy (2a) – Argentina (3b)
• Poland (1a) – France (4b)

| Complete Schedule for men’s volleyball tournament:

Pool A: Japan, Poland, Italy, Canada, Iran, and Venezuela.
Pool B: Brazil, USA, Russia, Argentina, France, and Tunisia.

| July 25 – Day 1
Italy – Canada 3-2 (26:28, 18:25, 25:21, 25:18, 15:11)
Brazil – Tunisia 3-0 (25:22 25:20 25:15)
Russia – Argentina 3-1 (21:25 25:23 25:17 25:21)
Japan – Venezuela 3-0 (25:21 25:20 25:15)
Poland – Iran 2-3 (25:18, 22:25, 22:25, 25:22, 21:23)
USA – France 3-0 (25:18, 25:18, 25:22)

| July 27 – Day 2
Iran – Venezuela 3-0 (25:17, 25:20, 25:18)
USA – ROC 1-3 (23:25, 25:27, 25:21, 23:25)
Poland – Italy 3-0 (25:20, 26:24, 25:20)
France – Tunisia 3-0 (25:21, 25:11, 25:21)
Japan – Canada 3-1 (23:25, 25:23, 25:23, 25:20)
Brazil – Argentina 3-2 (19:25, 21:25, 25:16, 25:21, 16:14)

| July 29 – Day 3
Canada – Iran 3-0 (25:16, 25:20, 25:22)
USA – Tunisia 3-1 (25:14 23:25 26:14 25:23)
Argentina – France 3-2 (23:25, 25:17, 25:20, 15:25, 15:13)
Poland – Venezuela 3-1 (25:16, 25:13, 18:25, 25:15)
Japan – Italy 1-3 (20:25, 17:25, 25:23, 21:25)
Brazil – ROC 0-3 (22:25, 20:25, 20:25)

| July 31 – Day 4
Canada – Venezuela 3-0 (25:13, 25:22, 25:12)
Brazil – USA 3-1 (30:32, 25:23, 25:21, 25:20)
Japan – Poland 0-3 (22:25, 21:25, 24:26)
Argentina – Tunisia 3-2 (23:25, 23:25, 25:19, 25:18, 15:8)
Italy – Iran 3-1 (30:28, 25:22, 21:25, 25:21)
ROC – France 1-3 (21:25, 25:20, 17:25, 20:25)

👉🏼 August 2 – Day 5
Poland – Canada 3-0 (25:15, 25:21, 25:16)
Brazil – France 3-2 (25:22, 37:39, 25:17, 21:25, 20:18)
ROC – Tunisia 3-0 (25:20, 25:22, 25:16)
Italy – Venezuela 3-0 (25:22, 25:15, 25:17)
Japan – Iran 3-2 (25:21, 20:25, 29:31, 25:22, 15:13)
USA – Argentina 0-3 (21:25, 23:25, 23:25)

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| QUARTERFINALS – August 3:
Canada (4a) – ROC (1b) 0-3 (21:25, 28:30, 22:25)
Japan (3a) – Brazil (2b) 0-3 (20:25, 22:25, 20:25)
Italy (2a) – Argentina (3b) 2-3 (25:21, 23:25, 22:25, 25:14, 12:15)
Poland (1a) – France (4b) 2-3 (25:21, 22:25, 25:21, 21:25, 9:15)

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| SEMIFINALSAugust 5, 2021:

Brazil – ROC 1-3 (25:18, 21:25, 24:26, 23:25)
France – Argentina 3-0 (25:22, 25:19, 25:22)

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August 7: FINALS
Bronze Medal Match: Argentina – Brazil 3-2 (25:23, 20:25, 20:25, 25:17 15:13)
Gold Medal Match: France – Russian Olympic Committee 3-2 (25:23, 25:17, 21:25, 21:25, 15:12)

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