Russia are on a four-match winning streak at the 2019 VNL
Ufa, Russia, June 9, 2019 – Portugal and the United States meet for the first time, while Russia and Italy race for the fifth victory in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
Portugal – United States (June 9, 2019)
• This will be the first world level major tournament encounter between these teams.
• World level major tournaments are: Volleyball Nations League, Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World League and Grand Champions Cup.
• United States have lost their last five VNL matches against European opposition (including all three this season), since a 3-0 win over Poland in the final round last year.
• Portugal have won one of their five matches at the 2019 VNL, 3-1 against Bulgaria in their final match of Week 1.
• Those three sets against Bulgaria are the only sets won by Portugal at the VNL. All four defeats came in straight sets.
• No team has suffered more straight-set defeats at the 2019 VNL than Portugal (4).
• Alexandre Ferreira scored seven points in the 3-0 loss against Italy on Saturday, four more than his brother Marco Ferreira (3). Alexandre is now Portugal's top scorer again at the 2019 VNL on 52 points, two more than Marco (50).
• United States have lost four of their five matches at the 2019 VNL, including the last two: against Italy and Russia in Ufa.
• United States could lose three consecutive VNL matches for the first time. It is the fifth time USA have lost two VNL matches in a row.
• United States could suffer back-to-back straight-set defeats in the VNL for the first time.
• United States have already equalled their total defeats from last year's VNL preliminary round: 4 losses in 15 matches. In total, USA lost six VNL matches in 2018.
• Benjamin Patch (13) was the only player to reach double figures in scoring for USA in the 3-0 loss against Russia on Saturday.
Russia – Italy (June 9, 2019)
• Russia have won the last three matches against Italy at world level major competitions (FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World League and Grand Champions Cup).
• Russia could win four matches in a row versus Italy at world level for the first time since a run of six from 2008 to 2011.
• Russia won 3-0 against Italy in the 2018 Volleyball Nations League. Dmitriy Muserski (12) and Egor Kliuka (12) were Russia's top scorers in this match. Ivan Zaytsev scored 15 points for Italy.
• Italy's most recent win against Russia at world level was a 3-0 victory at the World Cup in September 2015. One month later they also beat them 3-0 in the quarter-finals of the 2015 European Championship.
• In 2013, Russia won the European Championship by beating Italy 3-1 in the final.
• After losing their 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League opener against France, Russia have now reeled off four straight wins and back-to-back straight-sets wins this weekend.
• At one point last season, Russia won seven on the trot. They have lost only two of their last 17 VNL matches, with both of those defeats suffered against France.
• Egor Kliuka has established himself as the VNL's premier server this season, averaging 0.74 aces by set (14 in total)
• On Saturday, Victor Poletaev paced Russia on 19 points, in a 3-0 demolition of visiting United States.
• After a 3-1 defeat against Iran in their opening match of 2019, Italy have now won their last four VNL matches.
• This already is Italy's longest winning streak in the Volleyball Nations League.
• Italy dropped only one set in their last four VNL matches, in the 3-1 win over United States on Friday 7 June.
• On Saturday, Gabriele Nelli scored 18 points in Italy's 3-0 win over Portugal to reach 103 total points in the tournament. He was the first player to cross the 100-points mark in the 2019 VNL.
• Both Nelli and Simone Giannelli have scored eight points from aces at the 2019 VNL.
Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB.com - Volleyball Nations League
FIVB.com - Volleyball