Brazil, Italy, US favored at volleyball worlds

Brazil, Italy and the United States will be among the favorites when the volleyball women's world championship begins here on Friday.
Olympic champion Brazil enters the 24-nation tournament on top of the world rankings. The Brazilians have been drawn in a tough Group B with Italy, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, the Czech Republic and Kenya.
Brazil and the United States have never won the gold medal at the women's world championship. Brazil's best result was a silver medal in 1994 and 2006, while the Americans won silver in 2002 and 1967.
The United States, second in the world rankings, is in Group C with Cuba, Germany, Kazakhstan, Croatia and Thailand.