Yuji Nishida

Japan superstars Yuji Nishida and Yuki Ishikawa were at their brilliant best, collecting 23 and 22 points, respectively, in their second match win in Pool A at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 at Ariake Arena on Monday.

Coming off their straight-set win over Venezuela on the opening day, the Japanese team continued their inspiring run with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-20) win over Canada to jointly keep a 2-0 record with Iran in Pool A and ROC and Brazil in Pool B.

Canada managed to snatch the opening set. The Olympic hosts, however, led by Nishida, went on an expedition to break the Canadian defence with their high-flying spikes. Nishida and his teammates succeeded in the next two frames, but the North American side gave them a tough time to close out both sets.

By the fourth set, Nishida and Ishikawa were taking turns in attack, allowing their side to build a modest cushion. The Asian side did their best to safeguard their lead until their scoring duo put the final touches to win the match in four sets.

“During the many rallies that we had in this match, we took it one ball at a time and that I think led to our win,” Nishida said. In every play that we had, we took a lot of care, so we were able to win this type of match.”

“Because of the COVID situation, a lot has changed in the past year, and everything seems different, but what we wanted to show to our fans is that we have the same passion to play and win. This is how we always prepare for each match – by showing a lot of passion.”

Still feeling the momentum from their big opening day victory over Poland, Amir Ghafour, Meisam Salehi and Milad Ebadipour continued to set the pace for Iran, producing 16, 13 and eight points, respectively, to put their team up on the board in Pool A with two wins.

The Iranians defeated Venezuela 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-18). The Asian powerhouse team led on all fronts with 39 attacks, 10 blocks and three service winners and kept their errors to only 10 in the match.


Each point was a battle in ROC's match against the United States. However, ROC managed to bolt out of the tight contest and were favoured by a small two-point edge to win 3-1 (25-23, 27-25, 21-25, 25-23).

Volkov recorded 12 kills, two blocks and two aces, and teammates Egor Kliuka, Maxim Mikhaylov and Ivan Iakovlev contributed in double figures with 14, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

USA performed better on the attack with a 53-46 edge over their counterparts, but the winning team made up for their attack points shortage with a better net defence (10 blocks) and service game (7 aces).

“It was really a tough match, but we really wanted to win this match against USA,” Volkov said.

“I think we did well on service, even if it was not as effective as in the first three sets at the end. But we are taking this positively and we should keep this up and push harder to get better.”

Taylor Sander and Matt Anderson each had 14 attack points and a service winner, and Sander added two blocks for his 17-point total output.

Brazil made a wonderful recovery after hitting a stumbling block in the first two sets to win 3-2 (19-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-21, 16-14) against Argentina.

Yoandy Leal led Brazil with 18 points, while Wallace de Souza and Ricardo Lucarelli scored 14 markers apiece. On the Argentina side, Bruno Lima and Ezequiel Palacios did most of the damage to the Brazilian defence as they scored 26 and 19 points, respectively.

Argentina started off strong in the match but Brazil managed to stop them in the third set. Argentina had a big lead down the final stretch of the fourth, but Brazil wiped out the lead and snatched the set victory to force a tiebreaker.

Brazil trailed Argentina late in the final set, but it was Mauricio Souza’s block that swung the momentum to the Brazilian side, until two turnovers by Argentina conceded the match to the Olympic champions.


Meanwhile, Poland and Italy bounced back from their opening day losses with straight-set wins.

Wilfredo Leon and Bartosz Kurek brought their A-game to outplay the Italians in quick straight-sets (25-20, 26-24, 25-20).

Leon amassed 18 points in three sets, including 14 spikes, one block and three aces, then Kurek added 14 markers. The Italian hitters could not break through the double-digit scoring mark as Osmany Juantorena and Alessandro Michieletto producing only nine points apiece in the match.

The Italians struggled a bit on offence as their main setter Simone Giannelli could not play due to a muscle strain. The Polish side took advantage of their undermanned opponents with powerful hits and serves from Leon and Kurek.

“I am very happy because now I can get some rest and be able to prepare for the next matches. We had a strong opponent today and this is an important win for our team,” Leon said.

“I think if I were to evaluate my performance from 0 to 10, I played an 8 toda. But it wasn’t my best performance. I am just glad that we won today and we won fast, that is the most important part.”

France led on all fronts with 41 attacks, eight blocks and four service winners, and only 18 turnovers to post a 3-0 (25-21, 25-11, 25-21) victory over Tunisia.

Trevor Clevenot

France had four double-digit scorers that kept them in the lead for most of the match. Jean Patry and Trevor Clevenot had 12 points apiece, and Barthelemy Chinenyeze and Earvin Ngapeth added 11, while Ismail Moalla and Wassim Ben Tara led Tunisia with nine and seven markers.

The men’s matches will resume on Wednesday, starting with the match between Canada and Iran at 09.00, followed by the match-up of USA and Tunisia at 11.05. Argentina will face next Olympic Games hosts France at 14.20, then Poland will play Venezuela at 16.25.

The home team will next face European side Italy at 19.40, then Brazil and Russia close the day with their encounter at 21.45.