GB suffer fourth Olympic volleyball loss

Round-up: Ben Pipes believes his side are improving after falling to a fourth defeat in the London 2012 Olympics volleyball competition.


Great Britain battled bravely eventually losing out 3-0 (25-16 25-19 25-18) to Poland, the world’s number three ranked side, in just under an hour and a half.

And Team GB captain Pipes was delighted that the capacity crowd inside the ExCel Arena were in full voice throughout.

"I'm British. I don't care who's better than me,” said the 25-year-old. “We knew it was going to be tough.

"The fans were fantastic, and it was nice to see the crowd catching on. After four games, I think we're developing our play and I think the crowd are developing theirs."

Pipes’s side struggled in the first set but improved markedly in the second without seeing the rewards on the scoreboard.

Team GB improved again in the third and entertained the captivated crowd but ultimately fell to a six point deficit late on

And it was a fitting end as Zbigniew Bartman – top scorer with 20 points – ended the match with a typically thunderous spike to seal the win.

Harry Brokking’s men – playing in their first-ever Olympic tournament – play their final Group A game against Argentina on Monday still searching for their first win.

Argentina overcame Bulgaria and Russia rallied to defeat the US holders in Saturday's Olympic men's volleyball as the two group frontrunners were beaten for the first time.

Brazil, who are also tipped for a medal, narrowly avoided defeat against Serbia who pushed them all the way in a Group B five-setter that lasted well beyond midnight.

The Brazilian support roared just as loud even as the stands emptied.

Put under huge pressure by the Serbs, South American tempers flared in the fourth set at some refereeing decisions before they showed their class in the fifth to win 22-25 25-15 20-25 25-22 15-9 to book a place in the quarter-finals.

The defending champions from the US went through after hanging on to first place in Group B despite losing to the Russians who also clinched a spot in the last eight.

Bulgaria were top of Group A before losing to Argentina and are still guaranteed to qualify despite their 18-25 25-21 25-19 25-20 defeat. Poland are now first in that section.

The teams all have one match remaining in the round-robin stages, with the top four in each group progressing to Wednesday's quarter-finals.

Italy are also through after recovering from two sets down to defeat a young Australian side.

Russia saved a match point on the way to victory over the Americans.

The Russians, bronze medallists in Beijing in 2008, clung on at the end of the third set before knocking the stuffing out of the US to win 27-29 19-25 26-24 25-16 15-8.

"Russia started to wake up and started to play better. They realised they had to serve more aggressively and they did and that was what changed the game," American David Lee said.

"This is definitely a team that we're going to see later on in this tournament."

Lee said the confidence of the US side, who have had a rocky ride in recent years, would not be shaken.

"The last few years have been an up and down rollercoaster, we haven't really been on a good level but now we're at a high level," he said.

Italy were under pressure against Australia before coming back from the brink to win 21-25 18-25 25-21 25-14 15-13.

Elsewhere in Group B, Germany defeated Tunisia 25-15 25-16 25-16 to keep alive their qualification hopes.

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