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Gareth Bale
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Olympics 2024: Italy Lead the Way in Paris

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The upcoming Olympics 2024 will be a special one for the Azzurri as they chase their first-ever Olympic gold in volleyball.

Led by Paola Egonu, Italy will attempt to make it past the quarter-final, where they have finished four times in their last six outings, and finally realise a much-awaited Olympic success.

Ranked first in the world, the 2024 VNL champions are armed to the teeth and look to upstage former champions USA and Brazil.

The Azzurri are loaded

The 25-year-old from Cittadella is undoubtedly one of the best in the world. She hits the ball with much gusto, and being in the prime of her athletic life, she’ll only get better along the way.

She was awarded MVP and ‘Best opposite hitter’ at the recently concluded Nations League—her second in a row—to add to her extensive trophy cabinet.

And with how she has been performing as of late, expecting plenty of Olympics 2024 highlights from her is a smart choice.

Egonu, however, missed last year’s qualifiers to prioritise rest.

She was central to the Azzurri’s success against Japan in the Nations League final, firing away 23 points to put the former two-time Olympic gold medalists away.

Aiding Egonu in Italy’s quest are veteran Monica De Gennaro, two-time VNL ‘Best setter’ Alessia Orro, and 2022 VNL ‘Best outside spiker’ Caterina Bosetti.

Two-time FIVB World Championship and European Championship ‘Best outside spiker’ Myriam Sylla will also feature to add to the team’s already stacked lineup.

De Gennaro, 37, is the most senior member of the team and will now compete in her third Olympic tournament.

Italy will be under the watchful guidance of Julio Velasco, who hopes to break the team’s quarter-final curse. With the team he has, it is a no-brainer that they top the SBOTOP Olympics 2024 betting odds.

Aside from earning them the Olympic spot, their exemplar Volleyball Nations League performance showed how they matched up against the top contenders. Here’s how it went.

They beat the defending Olympic gold medalists (USA), 3-1, in the elimination round, and swept them in the quarter-finals. Turkey (world number three) were no match as well, succumbing 3-1 in the same round.

Three-time Olympic volleyball winners, China, were swept whilst qualified Olympic squads (France, Germany, and the Dominican Republic) managed to win a combined one set against them.

Only Brazil and Poland were able to best them throughout, with Italy avenging their defeat against the latter in the semi-final via a clean sweep.

In the final, they met Japan—ranked seventh in the world—and beat them soundly, in four sets.

It remains to be seen whether or not other nations could mount a challenge to Julio Velasco’s squad. But if the Nations League is any indicator, gold is going straight to Rome.

Possible challengers

The United States is set to face the 2016 gold medalists, China, in the Olympics 2024
The USA volleyball players celebrate winning their gold medal at the Olympics 2020

As per usual, Brazil and the United States will be threatening the world number one; both teams have contested three out of the last four finals at the women’s volleyball in the Olympics.

For the two-time gold medalists, Brazil, head coach Jose ‘Ze Roberto’ Guimaraes has put forth the nation’s best foot forward.

Gabriela ‘Gabi’ Guimaraes, Marcris Carneiro, and Ana Carolina da Silva lead the Canarinhas’ charge in Paris. 37-year-old Thaisa Menezes—perhaps going for her final Olympic run—also features in this Brazilian squad that’s looking to avenge their silver finish in Tokyo last time around.

Despite falling short at the Nations League, they were one of the two teams to beat Italy and are always on the brink of a title in any international competition they’re in.

For the United States, the main objective is the same: Defend the Olympic gold.               

Head coach Karch Kiraly will rely on core veterans Jordan Larson, Micha Hancock, and Annie Drews.

Kiraly will also enjoy plenty of options when it comes to spikers, starting with Avery Skinner and Kathryn Plummer, who will have no problem racking up points on the board.

NCAA standouts Justine Wong-Orantes (2015 champion with Nebraska) and Alexandra Frantti (2014 champion with Penn State) feature on the team as well.

After a disappointing Nations League, it seems the Americans already have that poor result in their rearview mirror as they notch wins against Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico at the Pan-American Cup.

The United States will face 2016 gold medalists, China, in their opening match on July 29. Meanwhile, Italy lock horns with the Dominican Republic on July 28, while Brazil joust with Kenya on the same day as the US.




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