Olympic Volleyball 2012: Foes Giving USA Run for Their Money

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Olympic Volleyball 2012: Foes Giving USA Run for Their Money
Elsa/Getty Images

The U.S. National Volleyball teams, the American superstars and gold-medal favorites are sure to see Olympic success at the 2012 London Games—but not so fast.

Yes, both the women and men’s U.S. volleyball teams are global powerhouses. The men’s national team is ranked No. 5 in the world and the women’s team is ranked No. 1.

The U.S. men’s team is back for the 2012 Olympics as the reigning gold medal champions at the 2008 Beijing Games. As for the women, the national team has medaled in past Olympic Games but have yet to see a gold medal. And it’s looking like this could be their year.

If all goes well, 2012 could be the golden year for U.S. Volleyball with both teams taking the gold.

But the preliminary rounds are just beginning and so far, plenty of athletes have shown that a botch here or a flop there can completely diminish the label of being a “gold medal favorite.”

Both U.S. National teams are strong, but there are a few other countries who will give them a run for their money with surprising defeats and crucial wins.

Men’s Volleyball should watch out for...

Italy

Italy initially lost to Poland in their first game during the preliminaries on July 29th. But the team jumped back for their second game with an incredibly important 3-1 win over Argentina.

Italy will face Great Britain next and will likely see a win then as well. Great Britain is not ranked in the FIVB national rankings. They lost their first game in the preliminary round and surprisingly won their second against Algeria by 3-2.

Italy is showing strong play and determination as they work their way through the first round.

Elsa/Getty Images

Brazil

Brazil will always be the greatest foe for the U.S. men’s national team. The two national teams have a bit of a rivalry that has developed after Team USA took gold at the 2008 Beijing Games and Brazil claimed silver.

The Brazil men’s national team is ranked No. 1 in the world and will put up tough competition in the 2012 Olympics. Team USA should look out for Brazil who will be looking to clinch the gold medal this year. They’re on the right track so far, defeating Tunisia 3-0 and facing Russia next.

Meanwhile, Women’s Volleyball should watch out for...

Brazil

The Brazilians will also be the U.S. women’s team’s greatest foe as the preliminary rounds progress. Brazil boasts a strong team that is ranked No. 2 in the world right behind the U.S.

The Brazil women’s national team are the reigning gold medal champions from the 2008 Beijing Games. Interestingly enough, the U.S. women’s team won silver at the 2008 Beijing Games. Brazil and USA are flip flopped between men’s and women’s volleyball.

Team USA recently defeated Brazil 3-1 in the preliminary rounds. It was a great feat but not a sign of relief. Brazil is sure to advance and meet the U.S. again in the later rounds.

China

China is ranked No. 3 in the world and won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games. The team is undefeated in the preliminary rounds, defeating both Turkey and Serbia. China will be one of the bigger threats for team USA, as they will both likely advance on to the semifinals.

The Chinese women’s national volleyball team has medaled in five Olympic Games so far and will be looking to upgrade their bronze from 2008 to a gold in 2012.

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