Olympic men’s volleyball semifinals to follow today

Check out all the Olympic men’s volleyball semifinal matches to follow today and how to follow them live.


United States (4-2) vs. Italy (5-1)
Match vitals:
11 a.m. (CST) in Rio
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Last Olympic gold medal: United States (2008); Italy (never)
All-time Olympic series: Italy leads 4-2
How they reached semifinals: The United States winning its final three pool-play matches to advance out of the pool-play stage and swept Poland in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Italy won its first four pool-play matches to finish as the Pool A champions and swept Iran in its quarterfinals match.
What to know: What a difference one week can make in the Olympics. The United States in 10 days since a loss to Italy pushed it to the brink of elimination has won four consecutive matches and will now meet in a rematch with a berth to the gold-medal match at stake. Despite starting the Olympic tournament with two straight losses, the United States has been undefeated since its pool-play loss versus Italy, including sweeping Poland in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. U.S. outside attacker Aaron Russell in that victory finished with a match-high 12 kills on a .400 attack percentage and led the United States with two blocks. Russell enters the semifinals second in the tournament with 80 kills. The former Penn State All-American also had tournament-best 19 kills in the four-game loss to Italy — one of his five Olympic matches that Russell had double-digit kills. Along with Russell’s performance, the United States has more than a .350 attack percentage in four of its last five matches. In addition, the team with a .383 attack percentage out-hit Italy in the previous meeting. The United States and Italian match-up will also pit two of the top young setters in the world facing each other. U.S. setter and former USC All-American Micah Christen is second in the Olympics with an 11.10 assists per game average, while Italy’s 19-year-old setter Simone Giannelli leads the tournament with an 11.43 assists per game average. The Pool A champions Italy finished with a .371 attack percentage and had three players with double-digit kills in its quarterfinal sweep against Iran on Wednesday. Outside attacker Osmany Juantorena led Italy in the elimination match with 17 kills and moved to third in the tournament with 79 kills. Besides Russell and Juantorena, this semifinal match will feature two of the three other players in this Olympics with at last 70 kills. U.S. opposite Matt Anderson is fourth in the tournament with 72 kills, while Italian opposite Ivan Zaytsev has 71 kills on a .349 attack percentage and is third among all players with eight aces. The only players with more aces than Zaytsev are U.S. middle attacker Max Holt and U.S. outside attacker Taylor Sander, who both have a tournament-best nine aces. This will be one of the first times in tournament’s history that the United States has played an opponent twice during the same Olympics. Among the previous times included the United States days after losing to Brazil in pool-play beating the same team in the championship match to win the 1984 Olympic gold medal.

Russia (5-1) vs. Brazil (4-2)
Match vitals:
8:15 p.m. (CST) in Rio
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Last Olympic gold medal: Russia (2012); Brazil (2004)
How they reached quarterfinals: Russia finished with more than .500 attack percentage and committed a combined six attack errors in a quarterfinals sweep against Canada on Wednesday. Opposite Souza de Wallace had a match-high 24 kills as Brazil defeated the Pool B champions Argentina in four games in the quarterfinals on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals for its fourth consecutive Olympics.