Hosts Italy and beleaguered Argentina each earned significant wins at the men's Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in Rimini today, seeing off France and Serbia respectively.
Argentina, who have so far been hampered by a pre-tournament coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent suspension of replacement players for breaking quarantine rules, defeated Serbia 27-25, 25-20, 26-24 in the opening match of the day.
"It was an important game for us," Facundo Conte, who led the Argentinian effort with 14 points, told Volleyball World.
"It was one of the last games we are playing here at the VNL.
"We are preparing for the Olympics, so I'm really happy about this win."
Italy - Olympic silver medallists at Rio 2016 - needed all five sets to beat France, but did so 25-19, 22-15, 25-10, 21-15, 15-12.
The defeats could prove to be costly for top-four challengers Serbia and France.
Brazil beat Australia in three sets and world champions Poland did the same versus neighbours Germany.
They remain the top two, with Brazil first in the standings, and Slovenia are third following an arduous 14-25, 25-20, 25-19, 32-30 triumph versus Iran.
Russia, who beat Bulgarian in three sets, complete the top four.
In the day's over matches, Canada brushed aside Japan in three sets and the United States came from behind to topple the Dutch in a five-setter.
Women's VNL action resumes tomorrow.