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Brazil beats Italy to meet US in volleyball final

Brazil beats Italy to meet US in volleyball final

The Brazilian men's volleyball team will look to defend its Olympic title on Sunday against the United States in the gold medal match.
The Brazilians defeated Italy 3-1 (19-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-22) in the semifinals on Friday night to set up the final match in Beijing.
Earlier in the day, the U.S. team prevailed 3-2 (25-22, 25-21, 25-27, 22-25, 15-13) over Russia to stay unbeaten in the Olympic competition.
Brazilian attacker Giba summed up the importance of the match succinctly: "The final is all there is."
Italy will face Russia for the bronze medal before the final.
Top-ranked Brazil has dominated international play for most of this decade and were the favorites to win the gold in Beijing.
In addition to winning the gold in the 2004 Athens Games, the team won the World Cup last year, defending its 2003 title. They also repeated as gold-medal winners in the 2002 and 2006 world championships.
But the Italians came out strong, going up 9-2 in the first set after Valerio Vermiglio's spike. They won it on Andre Heller's service fault for Brazil.
Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende thought his team played nervously at the start, the result of struggles in the World League competition last month.
"I think they were thinking too hard about what would happen if they lost in the beginning," he said.
The Brazilians shook off those jitters during the second set and Giba, whose given name is Gilberto Godoy Filho, led the charge. His angry spike put Brazil in front 9-4.
The Italians complained when a referee got in the way of captain Alberto Cisolla's hit, and Brazil earned the point to go up 14-9. Giba wailed after he nailed another spike to make it 22-17 before Bruno Rezende's ace for set point.
With Brazil ahead 18-16 in the third, Italy's Luigi Mastrangelo came down hard under the net and appeared to injure his left ankle. His teammates carried him from the floor and he did not play again.
Brazil won the set when Cisolla's block flew out.
Italy's Vigor Bolvolenta served into the net to give Brazil a 10-5 lead in the final set. The defending gold medalists played with emotion, at one point lifting 1.98-meter (6-foot-6) Heller off the ground after a key block. Italy came within a point at 20-19, but Brazil won it on Murilo Endres' spike.
"It is very hard to keep the adrenaline down in a match like this," Giba said.
The Brazilians also won the gold in 1992.
Italy, which lost 3-1 to Brazil in Athens, has never won a gold medal in the sport.
"We didn't seize key moments, even though they appeared all the time," Cissola said.
Brazil emerged 4-1 from preliminary pool play in Beijing, with a lone loss coming to Russia. They defeated China in the quarterfinals to advance to Friday's match.
Italy defeated Poland 3-2 in the quarterfinals after going 4-1 in their pool with a loss to the United States.


Updated : 2021-06-14 20:11 GMT+08:00