RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Aug. 6, 2016) – Who is the first opponent for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio?
The United States’ NORCECA (North America, Central America and the Caribbean) neighbor to the north may have been one of the last teams to qualify for the Olympic Games, but it didn’t come just for the experience. It would be more than happy to beat the United States as it did in the final of the NORCECA Champions Cup in May of 2015.
Both teams still qualified for the FIVB World Cup at the end of 2015. The United States beat Canada and went on to win the World Cup and qualify for the Olympics.
Canada hoped to qualify at the 2015 NORCECA Championship, but was beaten in the final by Cuba. As the second-place finisher at NORCECA, had to go to the world qualifier in Japan, where it finished fourth, which was good enough to advance.
The United States is 2-1 against Canada in senior men’s national team competitions since 2012.
For U.S. Head Coach John Speraw, Canada is a formidable opponent.
“Canada is one our regional rivals,” he said. “I know they are going to be playing the best volleyball they have ever played against us. It is going to be a difficult challenge to get through the pool.”
Sunday’s match will be the very first Olympic competition for eight members of the U.S. Men’s Team.
“This is a different tournament and for then to come in and handle the pressure and still perform will be a challenge,” he said of the youngsters.
How to watch: The U.S. Men’s match against Canada is scheduled to be shown on NBC on Sunday night at 4:05 p.m. EDT. A live stream is available at http://NBCSports.com/live.