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Olympic Volleyball Day 13: ROC dashes Brazil's hopes of second straight gold in men's semifinals

Olympic Volleyball Day 13: ROC dashes Brazil's hopes of second straight gold in men's semifinals
Posted at 11:18 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 05:46:40-04

Editor's note: This post will be updated throughout the semifinals to reflect the day's action.

Only four teams remain in the men's indoor volleyball tournament, and they're all serious medal contenders. Follow along for updates on the results of the two semifinal matches. 

ROC bumps Brazil to bronze medal match

MATCH STATS

In a battle between two heavyweights that each won a recent Olympic gold, the Russian Olympic Committee proved its victory over top-ranked Brazil in pool play was no fluke. 

The Russians, who won gold in 2012, swept the 2016 Olympic champions in the preliminary round but looked a little sluggish in the first set of the semifinals. Brazil took Set 1 with some aggressive blocking, downing the ROC 21-18, but Set 2 saw a shift in momentum.

Brazil built a 20-12 lead and seemed to be en route to a dominant win, but the Russians fought back and took over when the Brazilians stalled just five points shy of victory. The ROC not only clawed its way out of the hole it had fallen into at the start of the set but then climbed to a 26-24 victory to tie the match at 1-1.

The Russians rode the momentum of their hard-fought triumph into Set 3 to outlast a Brazilian surge and win 26-24, taking a 2-1 lead. With a chance at defending its gold medal from Rio on the line, Brazil couldn't orchestrate a comeback to force a fifth set. 

The ROC clinched the match and a spot in the semifinals with a 25-23 win in Set 4. Brazil will play the loser of the second semifinal match, which features France and Argentina, while the ROC will battle the winner for gold. 

If Brazil loses in the finals, none of the top three teams from Rio will stand on the podium in Tokyo.