Brazil began their defence of their title with a straight sets win over France ©FIVB

Olympic gold medallists Brazil began their pursuit of a fourth consecutive International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Men's World Grand Champions Cup title with a straight sets win over France.

The match at Nippon Gaishi Hall in Japanese city Nagoya was far from straightforward, however, as the French pushed the Rio 2016 winners all the way in each set.

Brazil eventually came through 27-25, 27-25, 25-22 to begin the six-team tournament on a winning note.

They have now lost only one of their last 18 matches at the tournament, with the victory following their 3-1 success over France, the European champions, in front of their home fans at Rio 2016.

Ricardo Lucarelli Souza led the way for his side with 15 points in the victory.

The tournament, which features the host nation Japan, four continental champions and FIVB wildcard Italy, sees every side play each other in a round-robin.

The country which finishes top following the last round of matches will be declared the winners.

The United States were too strong for hosts Japan ©FIVB
The United States were too strong for hosts Japan ©FIVB

In other matches in Nagoya today, Asian champions Iran beat Rio 2016 silver medallists Italy in five sets.

The Iranians saw off the wildcard pick 25-19, 23-25, 28-26, 29-31, 15-11 in an epic encounter.

Hosts Japan were left disappointed as they went down in straight sets to North American champions United States.

The Americans won 25-21, 25-18, 25-13.

Tomorrow's second games in Nagoya include a repeat of the Olympic final with Brazil facing Italy.

The US will play Iran and Japan will play France.

The remaining three matches for each country will then take place at Osaka's Municipal Central Gymnasium from September 15.