Indoor volleyball at the Olympic Games began on the day following the opening ceremony: men on Saturday, women on Sunday. And what a start! It began with the longest recorded international match since rally point was introduced. Canada won the first two sets and resisted the might of the fight-back by Rio silver medallists, Italy for 2 hours, 20 minutes after fading slightly in the fifth set. Then in the afternoon, Iran revenged their Rio (16:18 in fifth set) defeat by Poland, a 23:21 fifth set extending the match to 2 hours, 46 minutes to shock the 2019 World Cup runners up.
Only one match went to five sets on day two of competition but what a match! In Pool B Brazil looked beaten mid way through the fourth set but recovered brilliantly to shade it then took the lead in the fifth for the first time at 13:12 to remain unbeaten. In Pool A, Russia also continued winning, overcoming the USA in four very close sets.
There were two unbeaten sides in Pool A when the third day of competition began. At the end of it, there was none. Canada beat Iran in three sets and Italy beat Japan in four. In Pool B the two unbeaten sides met in the last match of the day and Russia were never seriously troubled as they disposed of Brazil who hold the World Cup from 2019 as well as the Olympic 2016 title.
On Friday there was an easy win for Canada over Venezuela and a tough three sets success for Poland against the hosts in Pool A before Italy took on Iran and, with the winner almost assured of progression, won in four close sets. In Pool B Brazil needed four sets against USA, Argentina registered its second victory of the tournament after narrowly losing the first two sets against Tunisia and France then overcame Russia in four sets meaning all four of the quarter-finals places were settled before Sunday’s fifth pool matches.
When those matches came Poland overcame Canada, Italy beat Venezuela to claim top spot in Pool A and Japan beat Iran for fifth spot in five long sets. In Pool B three teams had qualified for the quarters leaving Argentina to challenge USA for the last place and, in the last match of the day, Argentina overcame the States in three close sets after Brazil and ROC had beaten France and Tunisia respectively.
Men’s quarter-finals draw
Canada v ROC
Japan v Brazil
Italy v Argentina
Poland v France
All Sunday’s opening group of women’s matches were over in just three sets: very unlike the long previous day for the men. Yet there was a huge shock that will have had all the top teams worried and volleyball talking for months. Rio gold medals and 2018 World Championship third place counted for nothing as China were overwhelmed by Turkey in one hour 27 minutes. There was also an encouraging performance from Italy who eased past Russia after a close first set.
In the second round of pool matches Turkey managed a set off Italy and the competition produced its first five set match as the Dominican Republic scared the might of Brazil. 2016 silver medallists USA got their tournament back on track by inflicting a second defeat on China.
Two days later China at last showed it power and quality and took Russia to five sets in Pool B while Italy continued its winning ways. Serbia, silver medallist in Rio, easily overcame Kenya before Brazil maintained its unbeaten record against the hosts and Turkey took USA to five sets late in the night. Meanwhile Brazil and Serbia continued their winning ways while the Dominican Republic just failed to get off the mark losing 12:15 in the fifth set against Korea.
China’s improvement continued on Saturday when they overcame unbeaten Italy in three very close sets after Russia had come out on top against 2016 Bronze medallists, USA in three. Unbeaten sides met in Pool A where Brazil beat Serbia in four sets after the Dominican Republic had at last recorded a victory when beating Kenya and before Korea won for the third time, needing five sets: the last 16:14, to disappoint the host nation.
In the final pool matches, Brazil beat Kenya easily in three sets to finish the only side in either men or women’s pool matches to boast a 100% win record and in the other pool USA overcame Italy in five tremendous sets to decide which of them would occupy top place in their table.
Women’s quarter-final draw
Korea v Turkey
Dominican Republic v USA
Serbia v Italy
Brazil v ROC
Italy beat Canada, 26:28 18:25 25:21 25:18 15:11
Japan beat Venezuela 25:20 25:21 25:15
Iran beat Poland, 18:25 25:22 25:22 22:25 23:21
Brazil beat Tunisia, 25:22 25:20 25:15
ROC beat Argentina, 21:25 25:23 25:17 25:21
USA beat France, 25:18 25:18 25:22
Iran beat Venezuela, 25:17 25:20 25:18
Poland beat Italy, 25:20 26:24 25:20
Japan beat Canada, 23:25 25:23 25:23 25:20
ROC beat USA, 25:23 27:25 21:25 25:23
France beat Tunisia, 25:21 25:11 25:21
Brazil beat Argentina, 19:25 21:25 25:16 25:21 16:14
Canada beat Iran, 25:10 25:20 25:20
Poland beat Venezuela, 25:10 25:13 18:25 25:15
Italy beat Japan, 25:20 25:17 23:25 25:21
USA beat Tunisia, 25:14 23:25 25:14 25:23
Argentina beat France, 23:25 25:17 25:20 15:25 15:13
ROC beat Brazil, 25:22 25:20 25:20
Canada beat Venezuela, 25:13 25:22 25:12
Poland beat Japan, 25:22 25:21 26:24
Italy beat Japan, 25:20 25:17 23:25 25:21
Brazil beat USA, 30:32 25:23 25:21 25:20
Argentina beat Tunisia, 23:25 23:25 25: 19 25:18 15:8
France beat ROC, 25:21 20:25 25:17 25:20
Poland beat Canada, 25:15 25:21 25:16
Italy beat Venezuela, 25:22 25:15 25:17
Japan beat Iran, 25:21 20:25 29:31 25:22 15:13
Brazil beat France, 25:22 37:39 25:17 21:25 20:18
ROC beat Tunisia, 25:20 25:22 25:16
Argentina beat USA, 25:21 25:23 25:23
Serbia beat Dominican Republic, 25:18 25:12 25:20
Japan beat Kenya, 25:15 25:11 25:23
Brazil beat Korea, 25:10 25:22 25:19
Italy beat ROC, 25:23 25:19 25:14
USA beat Argentina, 25:20 25:19 25:20
Turkey beat China, 25:21 25:14 25:14
Serbia beat Japan, 25:23 25:10 26:24
Brazil beat Dominican Republic, 22:25 25:17 25:13 23:25 15:12
Korea beat Kenya, 25:14 25:22 26:24
ROC beat Argentina, 25:19 25:15 25:13
USA beat China, 29:27 25:22 25:21
Italy beat Turkey, 25:22 23:25 25:20 25:15
Korea beat Dominican Republic, 25:20 17:25 25:18 15:25 15:12
Serbia beat Kenya. 25:21 25:11 25:20
Brazil beat Japan, 25:16 25:18 26:24
Italy beat Argentina, 25:21 25:16 25:15
ROC beat China, 25:17 25:23 20:25 27:25 15:12
USA beat Turkey, 25:19 25:20 17:25 20:25 15:12
Dominican Republic beat Kenya, 25:19 25:18 25:10
Brazil beat Serbia, 25:20 25:16 23:25 25:19
Korea beat Japan, 25:19 19:25 25:22 15:25 16:14
ROC beat USA, 25:20 25:12 25:19
Turkey beat Argentina, 25:23 25:20 25:18
China beat Italy, 25:21 25:20 26:24
Serbia beat Korea, 25:18 25:17 25:15
Dominican Republic beat Japan, 25:10 25:23 19:25 25:19
Brazil beat Kenya, 25:10 25:16 25:8
USA beat Italy, 21:25 25:16 25:27 25:16 15:12
Turkey beat ROC, 21:25 25:23 25:23 15:25 15:10
China beat Argentina, 25:15 25:22 25:19
Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton