VOLLEYBALL: U.S. undefeated, heads to Round 2 in World Champs

The quadrennial FIVB World Championships in men’s volleyball continues in Italy and Bulgaria, with the first-round action finally completed and the serious work starting in round 2. Through the first round of games:

Pool A: 1. Italy (5-0); 2. Belgium (3-2); 3. Slovenia (3-2); 4. Argentina (2-3); 5. Japan (2-3); 6. Dominican Republic (0-6).

Pool B: 1. Brazil (4-1); 2. Netherlands (4-1); 3. France (3-2); 4. Canada (3-2); 5. Egypt (1-4); 6. China (0-5).

Pool C: 1. United States (5-0); 2. Serbia (4-1); 3. Russia (3-2); 4. Australia (2-3); 5. Cameroon (1-4); 6. Tunisia (0-5).

Pool D: 1. Poland (5-0); 2. Iran (4-1); 3. Bulgaria (3-2); 4. Finland (2-3); 5. Cuba (1-4); 6. Puerto Rico (0-5).

The U.S. had its difficult matches at the start, getting past Serbia in five sets (3-2) in its opener, then squeezing by Australia (3-2), Russia (3-1), Cameroon (3-0) and Tunisia (3-0). John Speraw’s team had to rally from 2-1 down to Serbia and 0-2 against Australia, but they did it and are on to the second round.

This is another round-robin now, this time with four groups of four teams each. The first-round points carry over and the four pool winners in Round 2 will advance to the third stage, together with the top two of the second ranked teams. The new pools:

Pool E: Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Finland in Milan (ITA)
Pool F: Brazil, Belgium, Slovenia, Australia in Bologna (ITA)
Pool G: United States, Iran, Bulgaria, Canada in Sofia (BUL)
Pool H: Poland, Serbia, France, Argentina in Varna (BUL)

These games will start on Friday (21st) and continue through Sunday (23rd). The final phase will begin on the 26th and finish on Sunday the 30th.

Look for the scores here.