League rematch as Brazil & Italy make final
Greece, August 27, 2004 – World champions Brazil and
European champions Italy will playoff for gold in the
final of the 2004 Olympic Games men’s Volleyball
competition after both teams won breathtaking semifinal
matches on Friday.
The final will be a repeat of the 2004 World League
final in July, which Brazil won 3-1 (27-25 25-19 25-27
25-17) and promises to be another fantastic contest
featuring the number one and two highest ranked teams in
World number one Brazil will start the final as
favourites having won every international Volleyball
title available since their World Championship triumph
in 2002. Italy, meanwhile, will be looking for revenge
after they lost the Preliminary Round match up in a five
set thriller 3-2 (25-21, 15-25, 25-16, 21-25, 33-31).
Italy, who are now guaranteed their third-straight
Olympic medal after finishing second to the Netherlands
in Atlanta 1996, and claiming bronze in Sydney four
years ago, completely outplayed a star struck Russian
side in their semifinal, winning in straight sets
(25-16, 25-17, 25-16) in just over an hour. It was an
amazing performance from the Squadra Azzurra, who played
arguably their best match in the past decade.
“My players played absolutely perfect today,” said coach
GianPaolo Montali. “It was the only way to beat such a
good team as Russia. I am very pleased.”
The question begs to be asked, has Italy played their
best match one game too early ahead of the gold medal
game? “I think that we cannot play better than how we
played today,” Montali added. “We will try to avoid
mistakes. Brazil are a difficult opponent; they have
different approaches and strategies.”
In the second semifinal Brazil reversed an earlier 3-1
Preliminary Round defeat to USA by beating the world
number five in straight sets 25-16, 25-17, 25-23.
It is the first time Brazil has been in the men's
Olympic Volleyball final since 1992 when the South
Americans beat the Netherlands for gold.
“We played very well and we’re very pleased with our
effort,” Brazilian coach Bernardo Rezende said. “We did
not let them get into any rhythm and we kept the
pressure on the throughout. Obviously we had to make up
or the other night and we caught the Americans a little
flat. Italy is a great team and they’re going to be hard
to beat, a lot depends on our ability to handle their
attack and their service game.”
The final on Sunday will see Brazil play Italy at 14:30
straight after the bronze medal match between Russia and
USA at 12:30.
four set to begin
26 August – Russia, Italy, Brazil and the United States
are just one step away from having the opportunity of
playing for gold when the semifinals of the men’s
Olympic Volleyball competition get underway on Friday.
The four teams in the semifinals, who all come from Pool
B in the Preliminary Round, are guaranteed to provide an
amazing spectacle with some fascinating match ups in
At 19:30, 2000 Olympic Games runners-up Russia take on
the Sydney bronze medalists and European champions Italy.
Russia, world championship bronze medalists, and Italy
are in the Olympic semifinals for the third consecutive
time. Russia adding a fourth in Atlanta to its silver in
Sydney, while Italy finished second in 1996 along with
the bronze it earned in 2000.
The two medal challengers have already gone head-to-head
in the Athens Olympic tournament Preliminary Round with
Russia winning in the tiebreaker, 3-2 (25-16, 25-22,
22-25, 23-25, 15-13) thanks to the supreme blocking and
the efficient spiking of Serguey TETYUKHIN (RUS) and
Pavel ABRAMOV (RUS).
Russia's morale should be sky-high after knocking the
defending champions Serbia and Montenegro out during the
quarterfinals, avenging Russia's defeat in the 2000
Olympic tournament final.
Russia is third in the blocking statistics, averaging
2.79 per set. They are led by Alexey KULESHOV's (RUS)
17. TETYUKHIN has been Russia’s top scorer so far with
83, including 75 via the spike.
Italy’s serving has been a great weapon so far, while
they also rank first in the non-scoring diggers. Andrea
SARTORETTI (ITA) leads Italy in scoring with a total of
Meanwhile, World Championship, World League and World
Cup champions Brazil face off against two-time former
Olympic gold medallists USA at 21:30.
Brazil is seeking their first Olympic medal since
winning gold in Barcelona in 1992, while the United
States finished third at that event.
In the preliminary round, the United States upset Brazil
in four sets 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22), in a
match remembered for Brazil’s use of their entire squad.
The USA’s highlight so far took place in its
quarterfinal match against Greece. Despite being down
two sets to one and 20-12 in the fourth set, the US
produced a never-seen-before comeback to win the match.
Brazil, on the other hand, are by far the best team in
the competition in terms of statistics. The world number
one lead the scoring spikers, scoring servers,
non-scoring setters and non-scoring receivers categories.
Gilberto GODOY FILHO (USA), Andre NASCIMENTO (USA) and
Dante Guimaraes AMARAL (USA) are the stars for Brazil.