Team USA scores key volleyball win vs. France

Fourth-Place Medal
(Laurent Kalfala/Getty)
(Laurent Kalfala/Getty)

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RIO DE JANEIRO — The U.S. men’s volleyball team can loosen their collars. Just a little bit.

Team USA earned a 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 14-25, 25-22) win over France on Saturday night at Maracanazinho, moving to 2-2 in Pool A with six points. That puts the team in a tie with France after four games, and three points ahead of Canada, which was scheduled to play Mexico, the weakest team in the pool, later that night.

Matt Anderson and Aaron Russell led with 18 points apiece.

It’s the second straight win for the Americans, after their thrilling 3-1 victory over favored Brazil Thursday night.

Why this was important: The top four teams from the two groups advance to elimination round next week. A loss to France, and the Americans would have been in serious trouble of not advancing out of pool play. Ditto had Team USA earned only two points (with a 3-2 win) or one point (with a 2-3 loss) against France.

Rio Olympics
Rio Olympics

Team USA closes out Group A play against Mexico on Monday.

All the team needs is to get as many or more standings points against Mexico on Monday as France gets against Brazil; or get more points against Mexico than Canada gets out of its match against powerhouse Italy, assuming the Canadians earn three points out of Mexico. Canada defeated the U.S. in their match in pool play.

Italy was scheduled to face powerhouse Brazil on Saturday night.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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