VOLLEYBALL: U.S. advances to final round in men’s World Champs

The United States men’s national volleyball team continues its run through the FIVB World Championships in Italy and Bulgaria, winning its second-round group and advancing to the medal round this week.

After finishing 5-0 to win Pool C in the first round, the U.S. advanced to Pool G to face host Bulgaria, Iran and Canada. The outcome sends the U.S. in the final round with a chance for the medals:

∙ 21 September: U.S. 3, Canada 1
∙ 22 September: U.S. 3, Bulgaria 0
∙ 23 September: U.S. 3, Iran 0

That sends coach John Speraw’s U.S. squad into the final pool, where two groups of three will be formed from the four group winners and the second “best” second-place teams. The group winners and the other qualifiers:

∙ Group E: 1. Italy (7-1) 2. Russia (6-2)
∙ Group F: 1. Brazil (7-1)
∙ Group G: 1. United States (8-0)
∙ Group H: 1. Poland (6-2) 2. Serbia (6-2)

The U.S. is the last undefeated team in the tournament and has won 24 of 30 sets. Italy has a 23-6 sets win/loss ratio; Brazil’s is 22-8 and defending champion Poland’s is 21-9. Canada (5-3) and Belgium (4-4) just missed making the final round.

The final round will take place in two pools of three, with the winners meeting for the gold medal and the second-place teams meeting for bronze. The pool matches will take place on 26-27-28 September, the semis on 29 September and the medal matches on the 30th. All of these games will be in Turin (ITA):

∙ 26 September:
Pool I: Brazil v. Russia
Pool J: Italy v. Serbia

∙ 27 September:
Pool I: U.S. vs. Russia
Pool J: Poland vs. Serbia

∙ 28 September:
Pool I: U.S. vs. Brazil
Pool J: Italy vs. Poland

Look for scores here.