U.S. opening round opponents set for Olympics

The start of the path for the United States to reclaim an Olympic gold medal is now set.

The FIVB on Monday unveiled the two six-team pools for the upcoming Olympics with the United States being in Pool A along with Brazil, Italy, Canada, France and Mexico.


The United States, which earned its Olympic berth after winning the 2015 World Cup, will play all five teams in the pool-play stage of the Olympic tournament. The top four teams in the pool-play stage will advance to the quarterfinals and play a team from Pool B.

Pool B will feature Poland, Russia, Argentina, Iran, Cuba and Egypt.

The pools were determined by the FIVB World Rankings and a serpentine allocation system.

Pool A has three of the world’s top-five ranked teams, including the United States at No. 5. The host country Brazil enters the Olympics atop the world rankings, while Italy is at No. 4.

Both Canada and France, which won the 2015 World League championship, are tied for No. 10 in the world rankings. In addition, Mexico at No. 24 is the lowest ranked team in the Olympic tournament.

The United States is attempting to win the nation’s fourth men’s volleyball Olympic gold medal and its first since 2008. The team under new coach John Speraw also had one of its most successful quadrennials in program history winning the 2014 World League championship and the World Cup.

The Olympic men’s volleyball tournament will begin Aug. 7 in Rio.