13. 08. 2019

Which men teams will be able to compete for gold at Tokyo Olympics 2020?

Author: Author: Ashley Munson

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Many people will say that it's early to talk about the favorites for the gold medal, but let's just summarize the situation.

 

The 2020 Olympic Games might be 11 months away, but the qualification campaigns are well under way and for online sportsbooks, the bets are open. Over the weekend the Intercontinental tournament took place to determine the first six nations who would be joining hosts Japan in the quest for Gold.

Let’s take a look at the teams who have made it so far.

POOL A – BRAZIL

Everyone will be shooting for Brazil in Tokyo as the reigning Champions following their heroics in their home Olympics, Rio 2016. They’re ranked as the number one team in the FIVA listings and are the only nation to have appeared at every Olympic Games since 1964 – when volleyball first featured.

They are a team that have the potential to retain their Gold, which would make it four in total, and the only thing that might stand in their way is complacency. It’s perhaps an unfair assessment but they made hard work of Puerto Rico, who finished bottom of the pool, in qualifying and that does raise question marks over their mentality.

POOL B – USA

The United States are regularly fighting to win the Olympics outright, but volleyball hasn’t contributed Gold since 2008. Last time out saw them win Bronze but after making light work of Belgium, Korea and the Netherlands in qualifying and picking up Silver in the recent Nations League the expectation will be high ahead of next summer’s Games.

Volleyball doesn’t attract the same attention as American Football, Baseball and Basketball in the States but, as the number two ranked team in the world, a strong performance in Tokyo could entice a new generation of American’s to switch sports.

POOL C – ITALY

The Azzurri have long flirted with an Olympic Gold in volleyball but, unfortunately, they’ve had to settle for a trio of bronze and silver medals instead. The Italian’s refer to it as a ‘curse' but a strong history in the World and European Championships prove they have the ability to go one step further – something Gianlorenzo Blengini will be desperate to do in 2020.

They’re currently number three in the world and despite performing well in qualifying defeating Cameroon, Australia and Serbia with an average points ratio of 1.262 we suspect they might struggle to break the curse just yet.

POOL D – POLAND

Vital Heynen will take his team to Tokyo with a belief that they are good enough to win a medal, but they won’t head to Japan as favourites despite being the reigning World Champions. Since lifting that title in 2018 they’ve gone on to secure a third-place finish at the Nations League and they romped to the Olympics with two comfortable wins over France and Tunisia respectively.

A 3-1 win against Slovenia saw them through with the one set lost to Slovenia the only giveaway during their route to Tokyo. Poland have lifted Gold in the Olympics, but it was back in 1976 at the Montreal games and the nation have failed to collect a medal since. Heynen will be hoping 2020 is the year.

POOL E – RUSSIA

The Russians could well be the team to beat in Tokyo. In addition to winning Gold at London 2012 they’ve had more recent success in the 2017 European Championships and in triumphing in back to back Nations League’s; most recently the 2019 competition where they defeated a fellow Olympic rival, the USA, in Chicago.

Tuomas Sammelvuo’s men have shown their quality once again during qualifying where they won all three of their matches, including a 25-15, 25-11, 25-17 demolition of Mexico, without dropping a set. Momentum can play a huge role in sport and Russia are on a roll.

POOL F – ARGENTINA

The Argentinians are the outsiders of the teams mentioned in this article but they’re capable of springing a surprise and the fiercely contested pool they’ve emerged victorious from will stand them in good stead.

Argentina have only once secured a medal at the Olympics, which was a Bronze in Seoul 1988 but in recent years they’ve won both the South American Games (2018) and the Pan American Games, which was just last month. It would be a huge shock for Argentina to win Gold, but it is the Olympic Games and stranger things have happened.

There you have it, six teams ready to do battle with the hosts in the fight for a medal. Of course, there are still five further spots up for grabs so the betting for who will conquer the world could all change.

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