Brazilian men, women are volleyball favorites
Posted: Saturday August 7, 2004 5:29PM; Updated: Saturday August 7, 2004 5:29PM
LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) -- Brazil are the nation to beat in Olympic men's and women's volleyball after winning warm-up tournaments for the Athens Games.
The Brazilian men followed up their 2002 world championship title by winning last month's World League tournament, beating hosts Italy in the final. Serbia and Montenegro were third.
The Brazilians won the Olympic gold in 1992 and Yugoslavia, many of whose players will represent Serbia and Montenegro in Athens, took gold four years ago.
Russia, silver medallists in Sydney, and France also have good medal chances. The 12-team competitions start with two pools and the top four teams advance to the quarter-finals.
Brazil also beat Italy in the August 1 final of the women's World Grand Prix. Brazil have won bronze at the past two Games.
Cuba, who won the gold in Sydney, were soundly beaten by the United States in the World Grand Prix bronze-medal match.
The Americans had beaten China, the top-ranked side, 3-0 earlier in the competition and these two sides meet again on the opening day of the Olympic tournament on August 14.
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