The U.S. Men’s Junior National Team is one win away from being guaranteed its first medal finish at the World Championship.
No. 9 United States will play No. 1 Argentina in the World Championship semifinals at 11:30 a.m. (EST) Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The winner of this match will play the winner of the No. 2 Russia and No. 5 Serbia semifinals match for the gold medal Wednesday. The two losers of the semifinal matches will play each other for the bronze medal Wednesday.
Check out what to know about this semifinals match between the United States and Argentina.
No. 9 United States (4-2) vs. No. 1 Argentina (5-1)
Match vitals: 12:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. EST) in Rio de Janeiro
Follow live: Live stats, Online video
Last medal finish at World Championship: United States (never); Argentina (2009 bronze)
Current NCAA players on roster: United States (15); Argentina (zero)
What to know: If the United States wants to win its first gold medal in the 40-year history of the World Championship, it will need to beat the top ranked team in the world. The United States finished the second round 2-1 and second place in Pool E. The team’s lone second-round loss was to No. 2 Russia, which overcame a two-game deficit to defeat the United States for the Pool E title Sunday. Argentina won its second-round pool to get a top seed for the semifinals. In addition, Argentina was one of the two undefeated teams left at the World Championship before it lost to No. 5 Serbia on Sunday in its second-round finale. The United States and Argentina semifinal match will also feature two of the top liberos at the tournament. USC libero Henry Cassiday leads the tournament with 74 digs, while Argentina libero Tomas Ruiz is second at the World Championship with 73 digs. BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander and Pepperdine outside attacker Maurice Torres lead the United States on offense. Sander at 99 kills is one kill away from becoming the third player at the World Championship to reach 100 kills, and Torres is in the tournament’s top five with a .508 attack percentage. This is the first time the United States has reached the semifinals. Prior to this tournament, the United States’ best World Championship finish was seventh place in 2007. Argentina won the bronze medal at the 2009 World Championship — the country’s first medal finish at the international tournament. The United States and Argentina last played each other in an exhibition one week before the start of the World Championship. In that friendly match, the United States defeated Argentina in five games.