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.
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.
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.
Listen to Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski podcast from Rio on GRANDSTANDING, featuring U.S. swimming legend Summer Sanders on Michael Phelps, IOC doping and Donald Trump: