Brazil crushed Italy in the semifinal of the Olympics and booked the grand final spot on Sunday. It will be the third final in a row for Bernardo Rezende and several of his wards like Giba or Sergio. Russia will be Brazil’s opponent in the final. The ‘Sborna’ overcame Bulgaria gaining the first Olympic final since 2000, where the team has lost to Yugoslavia.
Bulgaria 1 – 3 Russia
Top scorers: T. Sokolov 16, T. Aleksiev 15, T. Skrimov 11; M. Mikhaylov 25, T. Khtey 13, S. Tetyukhin 11
In what was a classy semi-final match Russia got the right to fight for Olympic gold at Earls Court on Sunday after edging Bulgaria 3-1 (25-21, 25-15, 23-25, and 25-23). Russia will be going for maximum result by playing the winner of the second semi starring Italy and Brazil; after the break-up of the Soviet Union that claimed three titles, it will be Russia’s second appearance in an Olympic final after Sydney 2000 where they ended up by losing to Yugoslavia.
Bulgaria remain in contention for their first Olympic medal since 1980, something only a few may have predicted before the start of their adventure in London. Maxim Mikhaylov paced once again Russia with 25 points, including 2 blocks and 2 aces, thereby claiming the much awaited duel with Bulgaria opposite Tsvetan Sokolov who registered “only” 16 but whose efforts were well supported by Todor Aleksiev (15) and Todor Skrimov (11). Bulgaria will return back in action on Sunday at 9:30 local time vying for bronze against the loser of the semi-final Italy.
Brazil 3 – 0 Italy
Top scorers: Murilo E. 15, Wallace 12, Lucas S. 10; C. Savani 15, M. Lasko 6, A. Fei 5
Brazil will play Russia on Sunday in the final match of the men’s tournament at Earls Court after playing a spectacular game to down Italy in straight sets (25-21, 25-12, and 25-21) in what turned into a demonstration of world-class volleyball, confidence and fighting spirit combined all together to get the perfect mix required for a side that is vying for Olympic glory.
Brazil’s supremacy was even a little embarrassing in the second set where the players coached by Bernardo Rezende displayed a full array of combinations that totally routed any resistance opposed by the Italians. Brazil will go for their third Olympic title on Sunday – after finishing first already in 1992 and 2004 – while Italy will play Bulgaria in the classification match, thereby hoping to add another medal to their own Olympic showcase that already includes one silver and two bronze. Murilo Endres and Cristian Savani top scored in the match with 15 points each but Brazil’s dominance at the net is well testified by the stats relating the blocks (10 vs. 3) and the spikes (Italy could finalize only 28 out of their 82 attempts).
THE OLYMPIC GRAND FINAL
BRAZIL – RUSSIA 12-AUG 13:00 LOCAL TIME/ 14:00 CET
THE BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
Bulgaria – Italy 12-Aug 9:30 local time/ 10:30 CET
Source: own news/ fivb.org