During the London Olympics, I did a daily ‘Power Rankings’ after each round of matches. In the absence of any better ideas, I thought I would do the same again.
Yesterday’s games seem to have provided a lot of excitement although looking back at the scores the matches seem to have been all straight forward. Perhaps it was the performances and to and fro within each pool, especially Pool A. These Olympics seem much more exciting than I remember the recent past. But anyway, let’s see how the teams are doing after the third day of matches. Bear in mind that I don’t watch every match.
MEN’S OLYMPIC VOLLEYBALL POWER RANKINGS DAY 3
1 (3) ITALY – At this point I have no idea who is really the top team, so I will go with the actual win/loss records. Italy have won all their matches and won well against the team who beat the favourites. That must make them the best performed team right now. We are now a fairly long way from my pre tournament tips 😀
2 (2) POLAND – Also unbeaten, but in the weaker pool, they played a very good match against an in form Argentina whose confidence was riding high. They were challenged strongly in the third but came through. Kurek had his best match so far and Kubiak was Kubiak.
3 (1) BRAZIL – This was the first match in which they were really tested and it seems they were not able to respond despite their home crowd. They still have to play France and Italy and on current form it is not inconceivable they could lose both of those matches, which would mean…
4 (5) FRANCE – Against Canada, France played at their very best. I have seldom seemed N’Gapeth so focussed. Indeed he cracked his trademark grin only once, after scoring with his patented round arm spike. He was also involved in a patented ‘moment’ with Marshall. They still have to play USA and Brazil, so nothing is certain, but they will have slept a fair bit better last night than the previous few.
5 (4) ARGENTINA – When Conte plays like the best player in the world, Argentina can beat anyone. When he is just very good, they can have some problems. They didn’t play badly against Poland, but against the very top team playing well they lack a little overall firepower. They are still favourites to be top two in the pool from where they would play one of Brazil, USA, France, Italy in the quarter finals. Still a tough road to the semis, so they drop to 5th.
6 (7) RUSSIA – The biggest victory in the Olympic history is worth one place in our rankings, although it makes so statement about their likelihood of doing much in the tournament, which remains slim.
7 (8) IRAN – There were a few moments in the first set in which I thought they were taking it too easy against Cuba and might make some trouble for themselves. But apart from some moments at the end of the second, my fears were unfounded. They go up one spot although it seems unlikely they will make a huge impact on the tournament.
8 (9) USA – Their performance against Brazil was obviously outstanding but I can’t put them up higher than eighth because they are by no means assured of making the quarters. Yesterday’s match was by first hand accounts an exceptionally high quality match and the US team will be very pleased with how they responded to the ‘adversity’* of their situation. Saturday’s match against France will be yuuuge.
9 (6) CANADA – Canada didn’t really do anything to drop so far, losing to France is no disgrace. But you are only as good as your last match, and USA’s last match was better. They will be looking for a big win against Mexico on Saturday to put scoreboard pressure on the US. And then maybe a point in the last match against Italy who might already be top of the pool.
10-12 (10-12) – Egypt (10/10) have their second Olympic record of the tournament with the biggest loss joining their first win in the books. Still they a win, so stay in front of Cuba’s (12/12) and Mexico (11/11).
Can’t wait for Saturday. We might see some big moves then. Will Italy defend their top spot? Will France overtake them? Will we see a five set match in Pool A? Will I force myself to get up and 3.30am to watch Brazil-Italy? My predictions… no, no, yes, yes.our
*Losing two volleyball matches is not really adversity. No matter how much sports psychologists want to say it is.